“The New Voter Suppression”

New Brennan Center report:

On Election Day in 1960, four unanswerable questions awaited Clarence Gaskins, a Black voter in Georgia looking to cast his ballot for president. Upon arrival at his designated polling place, he was ushered into a room that held a jar of corn, a cucumber, a watermelon, and a bar of soap. He was informed that in order to vote, he first had to answer the following correctly:

“How many kernels of corn are in the jar? How many bumps on the cucumber? How many seeds in the watermelon? And how many bubbles in the bar of soap?”

Clarence didn’t bother guessing once the polling official admitted there were no right answers. His vote was neither cast nor counted.

The connection between race and voter suppression did not end in the 1960s. While the overtly racist voter suppression tactics of the Jim Crow past are no longer with us, voter suppression remains a mainstay of electoral politics in the United States today.


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