Freezing Voter Qualifications To Aid Negro Registration

The literacy test, used by many states in determining the qualifications of voters, has proved to be a major obstacle to the elimination of voter discrimination based on racial characteristics. Under recently enacted statutory provisions, citizens who attempt to register to vote in certain states are faced with test questions of such difficulty that it is virtually impossible to answer them satisfactorily. Where there is permanent voter registration, the effect is to secure a position of political dominance for those registered prior to the institution of the tests. In those states in which individuals had been denied registration by prior discriminatory practices of a registrar, the effect is to perpetuate that voter discrimination.