Editor,

You think you know a person; then you discover long forgotten bits of papers that Mama left behind.

I found four Voter Poll Tax Receipts dated: nineteen fifty-six, fifty-seven, fifty-eight and seventy-four. All were from Brownsville, Texas.

Each time my Mama moved she had to re-register to vote and pay poll tax.

Towards the bottom of each receipt written in small print is the following:

“The sum of one and 75/100 dollars, in payment of Poll Tax for the year shown above. The said taxpayer being duly sworn by me says that the above is current: all of which I certify.” Stamped signature C.H. Holcomb Tax Accessor and Collector.

The receipts also describe the voter. Mama was native-born meaning she was a Citizen, SEX; female, RACE; white, AGE 39 and a house wife.

She valued her right to vote at her expense. It doesn’t seem like lots of money but for her it was. The state of Texas will never change. Barriers to the right to vote has always been an issue in Texas.

Sandra Barocio

Moss Beach

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(16) comments

craigwiesner

Years ago when a new pastor came to our church his parents were there for the ceremony marking his installation. His mother told me the story of the first time she registered to vote in North Carolina. She went to the courthouse and as she walked up the stairs she was joined by a professor from the local college, he was black, she white. When she got to the counter the clerk told her she'd have to answer a question to show she was qualified to vote and he grabbed a book from behind him. It was something simple along the lines of "What is the capital of the United States?" She answered and he handed her a form. She stepped aside to fill it out and the professor walked up. The clerk grabbed a different book. His question was something along the lines of "According to the tax apportionment of our county in 1942, what percentage of property taxes collected were used to fund schools and how much money was that?" The black professor, of course, could not answer that question and was not allowed to register. From that day on, our pastor's mother told me, she was an activist for voting rights. There is good reason to be suspicious of the plethora of new voting laws that are popping up across the country. My warning to those legislatures that might be creating those laws to suppress the vote is this, there are lots of people like our former pastor's mothers out there who will work their tails off to defeat any attempts to suppress the vote, AND, if that means working hard to defeat legislators who push for those laws, we will. Finally, as someone who worked as a non-partisan poll watcher here in our county, I am incredibly proud of how secure, transparent, efficient, and professional our voting system is. We continue to have increasingly high turnout which is awesome!

Ray Fowler

Hi, Sandra

Could there have been a mistake on the receipts mentioned in your LTE? Could the 1974 receipt actually be from 1964? That's the year the 24th Amendment made poll taxes unlawful for federal elections, and two years later, in 1966, Texas repealed the $1.50 - $1.75 poll tax for other elections.

BenToy

Instead of a 'poll tax', how's about a 'tax credit' ?

Tafhdyd

Ms. Barocio, I saw an article about poll taxes in Texas. Before they had them, starting about 1902, they had high voter turnout, about 80%. Of course almost all were white males at that time. After the tax, turnout went down and just about eliminated the vote by the poorer working class, Tejanos and other people of color. Texas being Texas is still trying to reduce voter turnout by the same minorities by changing the laws. No doubt if a poll tax was legal they would have one of the highest in the country.

Ray Fowler

Hi, Tafhdyd

So, those mean ol' Republicans are trying to reduce minority voter turnout? That sounds a little too much to me like the "woke" CEOs who oppose Georgia's voting laws but they are unable to say why... ackamarackus.

The average voter turnout in 2020 for minorities in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and South Carolina? 60.2% What was it for Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire? 45.5%

Now, does that translate to blue states are more likely to discourage voting by minorities? Of course not... Can the Democratic Party sustain its argument that red state voting laws are a return to the Jim Crow era or advance the even bigger lie that the US is a systemically racist country? Same answer... of course not.

You guys have got to get Trump's name out of your mouths. He did not cast a single vote for any state's voting laws AND he is no longer in office. Wherever we find voter suppression or skulduggery, let's root it out... no partisanship. But if the Democratic Party continues to allow itself to be run by the Squad and others of their ilk, you'll have the change the party's name. You should no longer be known as the Democratic Party... but the Kakistocratic Party.

P.S. Check Sue's column today for further evidence that a name change is in order.

Tafhdyd

Hello Ray,

If I get time I will try and add some of my different reasons for the voter turnout and suppression etc. but for now I will stick with my opinion of Texas. That is suppression of minorities voting is what they do. They have in the past and will try in the future.

Ray Fowler

Hey, Tafhdyd

So, in Texas... "suppression of minorities voting is what they do." OK.

Shortly before the November 3 election, some pundits were predicting that Texas may switch from red to blue. While it didn't happen, they thought they saw a trend based on recent presidential election returns.

2012 Republicans 57.2% Democrats 41.4%

2016 Republicans 52.2% Democrats 43.2%

2020 Republicans 52.1% Democrats 46.5%

It hardly looks like voter suppression is afoot. But wait a minute... what about minorities? OK. 58.8% of white voters went to the polls in 2020 compared to 58.6% of black voters. Wow.. .2%... that's some serious voter suppression.

My sense of it is that Texas is starting to look like a microcosm of the US. You have a heavy concentration of minority voters in metro areas that vote the Democratic Party ticket and oceans of rural Texas where Republicans dominate. I guess the question I would have is... how can Democrats make the argument that black voters in particular are being suppressed in Texas when record numbers of black voters are registering and voting where they live?

Of course, wherever we do see suppression and skulduggery, we should root it out... no question. But is there voter suppression happening in Texas?

Tafhdyd

Good morning Ray,

I will try and add a little to the voting issue but I am still short on time.

Your numbers about turnout in Alabama, Kentucky, etc… being higher than Vermont, etc… is easy to see when looked at through the eyes off the oppressed. After years of suppression and continued suppression the minorities are doing everything they can to vote in an effort to change the ruling party that tries to suppress in those states. Suppression is not at the top of the list in Vermont, etc. and therefore the need to vote is not as critical. Something that I disagree with, the need to vote is always critical. Another factor may be the weather. I don’t know what it was at election time but I would venture to guess it was better in Alabama or North Carolina than New Hampshire. Why go out in a storm if the vote won’t weigh as much? Kind of like a Republican voting in Berkeley.

Your later comment about Texas and a chance to turn blue falls under the same idea. They would have turned blue in 2016 and imagine how blue they would have been in 2020 if the vote wasn’t suppressed?

The current attempt to change their voting laws are targeting the large minority population centers. Things like fewer drop box locations, shorter time for absentee ballots etc. will effect places like Harris county, (Houston), but won’t really matter to a small country town out in the flat lands. Texas was also one of a dozen or so states that were under federal supervision for voting rights problems until 2013.

I agree that shady dealings need to be investigated. IMO the shade seems like it will fall more on the right side of the fence than on the left.

Ray Fowler

Tafhdyd... here you are!

No rebuttal. I understand your points and they deserve a place at the table in this debate. Once again, the most persuasive part of your argument is your sincerity.

I said no rebuttal... I'm not going to counter anything you posted. There was one factoid I wanted to include in my comments but I could not find the reference. What states have the highest percentage of black registered voters AND the highest black turnout at elections? Mississippi and Tennessee. What state has the lowest percentages? Massachusetts... While I could not find the source, it is consistent with my earlier comments. If blacks are voting in record numbers... where is the suppression?

Kamala at the border, yet?

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Tafhdyd,

I like your logic but wish you had some supporting facts. Supporting facts, not media talking points. Especially not the usual suspects. Thanks.

Tafhdyd

Wilfred and Ray,

I will admit that my post is just my take or my theory for the difference in the numbers from one state to another when one is in a liberal area, Massachusetts, vs red state, Mississippi. If I get some time I will see if I can find anything more definitive. Not sure if they track shoulda, woulda, coulda voting info.

I see it is after 5 o'clock. Gotta go, take care.

Terence Y

Ms. Barocio, so we should reinstitute a poll tax? Or leave the system as-is? I’d say a poll tax should be resurrected across the nation in addition to instituting election integrity safeguards. Obviously, millions of votes from non-existent folks were created out of thin air and counted. Not only in the Big Lie but probably across other races. BTW, let’s not forget to raise a glass in honor of our great President Trump’s birthday today.

Jorg

Terence: Y do you find Trump so “great”? A great liar, or a great tax evader? Perhaps great racist, con artist, p-grabber, wall builder, golf cheater, school cheater, science denier, demagogue, self -admirer, foreign relations destroyer, name caller, - or simply a great destroyer of the American democratic system?

Tafhdyd

Jorg,

You missed great traitor, remember he trusts Putin over 16 different intelligence agencies, and great insurrectionist.

Jorg

Yes, Tafhdyd, for a “great” character like Trump, it is easy to miss some of his incredible greatness, like for example great promoter of pure nonsense that fool the easily duped, including commentators on an otherwise great site like this.

Terence Y

Jorg, advanced TDS is affecting your sanity and your usual abundance of exclamation points. When you stop and ask yourself whether America is greater now under the disaster known as Biden or when our great President Trump was in charge and implementing his America First policy, we all know the answer is that we are much worse off now with Biden's American Last policy. Instead of being only a domestic laughingstock, Biden, after his G7 appearance, has exposed himself to be a global buffoon. And instead of you and your TDS-infected cronies being able to answer questions on anything positive about bumbling Biden, you all scurry away hoping questions disappear or you all launch personal attacks because you have nothing of substance. It’s amusing to see you all live in the past instead of acknowledging the disaster that is Biden. Or maybe you and your cronies realize Trump should still be our President. That would explain why the greatest President in our lifetime continues to live rent-free in your noggins. BTW, don’t forget to tune into the upcoming Trump rallies in Ohio and Florida. If you can’t wait, you can also easily find Trump’s recent CPAC speech. Best reality TV out there! (I raise an exclamation point in your honor.)

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