Jim Crow’s Demise Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

voting lines in FLAAlthough Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) does not believe “there is any particular evidence of polls barring African Americans from voting,” there is plenty of evidence that States are making it more difficult for African Americans to vote. Paul is using a strawman argument to recast the voting issue to one in which African Americans are prohibited from voting. Preventing African Americans from voting is the intended result of Republican efforts in numerous states. Using analysis of voting habits, Republicans have passed laws that intentionally create voting difficulties for groups that traditionally vote Democratic. Jim Crow has been dressed up a little, to become James Crow, Esq., but statistically speaking, the results are the same.

In Florida, minority voters waited to vote nearly double the time of white voters, as shown by this graph. voting time in FLAStatistical analysis of voting patterns showed that 61.2 percent of all early voting ballots were cast by Democrats, compared with 18.7 percent by Republicans. The Republican solution: delete six days of early voting and extend voting hours to accommodate those voters who have jobs. A GOP consultant noted that “cutting out of the Sunday before Election Day was one of their targets only because that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves.” Although not directly targeting African Americans, the intention is to reduce African American voter turnout.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker closed down DMV offices in predominately Democratic areas after passing a voter ID law. In Ohio, Republicans curtailed early voting from thirty-five to eleven days, including the Sunday before the election when African-American churches historically rally their congregants to go to the polls.

In North Carolina, voter suppression has been taken to new levels. Among the new measures are:

  • The end of pre-registration for 16 & 17 year olds
  • A ban on paid voter registration drives
  • Elimination of same day voter registration
  • A provision allowing voters to be challenged by any registered voter of the county in which they vote rather than just their precinct
  • A week sliced off Early Voting
  • Elimination of straight party ticket voting
  • Authorization of vigilante poll observers, lots of them, with expanded range of interference
  • An expansion of the scope of who may examine registration records and challenge voters
  • A repeal of out-of-precinct voting
  • A repeal of the current mandate for high-school registration drives
  • Elimination of flexibility in opening early voting sites at different hours within a county

North Carolina now has the strictest voter ID law in the country. US military ID cards will be accepted, but IDs from students at state colleges will not be accepted. In the election of 2012, 1.4 million voters voted straight-ticket Democrat, while just 1.1 million voted straight ticket Republican, so that feature is gone. During the first seven days of early voting in the 2012 election, now eliminated, 458,258 Democrats used in-person early voting, while just 240,146 Republicans did so. Although not directly targeting African Americans, the intention is the same.

There doesn’t appear to be any help from the Constitution which states:

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

In a 2007, the Brennan Center for Justice reported (pdf) that “by any measure, voter fraud is extraordinarily rare.” If Republicans can’t win by getting more votes than Democrats, they’ll lessen the number of Democratic voters and achieve an identical result.

As President Lyndon B. Johnson said in 1965 regarding the right to vote:

Every device of which human ingenuity is capable, has been used to deny this right.

H/T: Tom Anstrom, Dara Kam and John Lantigua, Ian Millhiser, Washington Post, Associated Press, Charles P. Pierce.


329 thoughts on “Jim Crow’s Demise Has Been Greatly Exaggerated”

  1. Squeeky,

    The changing of existing rules to suppress voting is wrong, period. When it is done in an attempt to gain partisan advantage that makes it much worse. Neither of these things are being done in the blue states you mention, so my position is consistent and I am not a hypocrite (at least on this matter 😉 ). I certainly would support things like early voting and same-day registration in ALL states, but that is a different issue. You, on the other hand, seem completely unwilling to adress my actual arguments in favor of misrepresenting my comments. Maybe if you had gotten some of the education you so despise you would understand how to engage in an honest discussion, but, as it is, your role here is nothing but that of a troll trying to incite people by distorting their positions. Is that really the kind of person you want to be? It seems pretty sad to me.

  2. randyjet,
    Yup. Not a real reporter either. Good reporters are neither fact or logic challenged, so there ya go.

  3. @randyjet:

    First, please learn to spell. If you do, you will notice both my first and last name are different. Plus, I don’t think she was a “Girl Reporter.”

    While you are busily excusing the Democrats from helping to pass that NAFTA garbage, you might want to check this out:


    Personally, I don’t excuse either party from it, or from all the idiotic financial deregulation stuff either. They are two peas in a pod, which ought to be dawning on you with all the NSA and Syria stuff.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  4. @ArthurErb:

    I swear, there are some educated people who have to consult a scientific study before they pass gas. Back when NAFTA was going through, all the 1%er Democrats and Republicans were hollering how this study and that study was saying it was going to increase jobs and stuff. Meanwhile, the Blue Collar types were all saying that it was common sense that it was going to ship more American jobs overseas. A decade and a half later, and the Blue Collar guys were right.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Normally I don’t bother replying to a person whose screen name celebrates a bloody mass murderer whose guru has a swastika on his forehead, and then declares that she is not a Nazi like her namesake.

      I suggest you read about the vote on NAFTA since it passed with very few Democratic votes. It was the covert GOPer Clinton doing that work against the wishes of the party.

  5. @slarti:

    No, there isn’t a difference if you are a political partisan. Because your emphasis is on the reduction from say 15 days to 8 days of early voting in Republican states. BUT, if you a non-partisan person, and someone tells you that a reduction of early voting is a form of Jim Crow in Republican states, then those same non-partisan people are going to laugh at you mercilessly when you try to excuse “No Early Voting” at all in Democratic states.

    Which, is why the facts about the Democratic states seem to just magically get left out of these goofy Voter Suppression articles. And Rhode Island passing Photo ID laws. And the majority of even Democrats supporting Photo ID. Oh, I guess it is all just a strange coincidence that stuff gets left out! (ROTFLMAO!)

    Like I have been telling you, “attitude” is trumping good sense and sound argumentation in many people. Welcome to that particular crowd! Your gear is stuck in “P” for partisan. You might want to wiggle it around a little and see if you can get it loose.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  6. Right across a few mountains from me is Watauga County, NC. Watauga County is the home of Appalachian State University and Boone, NC. The Watauga County election commission recently had some teabaggers appointed to it by the Governor, Pat McCrory. McCrory also just signed into law a strict voter ID law. His problem is ASU. Seems the fairly liberal northwest corner of the state has a lot of well educated and accomplished young people with a progressive bent.

    If you are a teabagger election commissioner, “What to do. Oh, what to do?”

    What they did was combine the three voting precincts with the most progressive voters into one precinct with about 9,300 voters on the rolls. Then they moved the polling place as far out in a remote corner of the mountainous county as they could and still stay inside the county. The polling place they picked for almost ten thousand prospective voters is small, hard to get to and the parking lot only has room for less than 30 cars. And, BTW, did I mention they did away with early voting.

    The Democratic Party in Watauga County was not about to hold still for that. I will let Watauga County blogger “irmaly” pick up the story:


  7. Slarti strikes again with the rhetorical question.


    “So yes, I would argue that the right to vote is one of the most essential political rights for any political system.”

    It is the critical defining feature of a democracy.

  8. “We should make voting harder, not easier. ”

    That makes some sense if you think voting is about reaching good decisions. But if good decisions are the objective why have voting at all. Why not turn decisions over to a class of technocrats or mandarins.

    It would seem that voting is less about the quality of decisions than about obtaining the consent of the governed and keeping the peace.

    From that point of view it is important to assure the vote to as many as reasonably possible.

    A political system that does not spread the vote widely runs the risk of being seen as illegitimate with all the consequences that implies.

    So yes, I would argue that the right to vote is one of the most essential political rights for any political system.

    1. When I was young and a conservative Republican, my parents were outraged that “uneducated” voters had the same vote as did college educated voters. Then I ran into an F/O who had a four year degree from Liberty U. We were discussing the 2000 election, and he was outraged that any person like myself would vote for a guy who got a blow job in the Oval office! I told him that I was unaware that Big Al got one there too. Silence from my F/O. An education cannot cure stupid. Most of the people on my crew on the refinery unit who were not degreed had more intelligence and were better informed than this Bible thumping fool.

    2. BigFatMike wrote: “So yes, I would argue that the right to vote is one of the most essential political rights for any political system.”

      No, not *ANY* political system. You have only democracy in your mind when you say that. It is essential for any democracy. You ASSUME that democracy is the only right political system.

      We do not have a true democracy, and there is good reason for that. I would argue that the more democratic we become, the weaker we become. Eventually, any political system based purely upon democracy will fail. Mob rule does not work. We should recognize why this is and develop proper methodology for determining the consent of the governed. We need a better way of electing leaders who are not corrupt degenerate sociopaths who are among the worse examples of leadership that humanity can produce. Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result is insanity. Equal voting has destroyed our government. Very few people trust politicians. Do you trust Congress? Do you trust President Obama? Do you trust any other politician?

  9. Again with a straw man I already addressed Squeeky? Pretty sad.

    As I said before, there is a difference between obvious efforts to suppress voting (as in Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania*) for partisan advantage and the simple absence of programs which making voting easier (and thus generally benefit Democrats). Are you really not intelligent enough to understand this or are you just being dishonest?

    * where they admitted it was an attempt to help Romney win the state.

  10. Slarti:

    Well, maybe there needs to be some “Jim Crow” articles about New York and Massachusetts and Minnesota and the rest of those Democratic states that prevent early voting on the Sunday before elections when all the Black Church folks get together. And they even make you have an excuse to vote absentee, unlike Florida, Georigia, and North Carolina. Because, when it is only the Republican states that get slammed, it comes off looking kind of cheesily political, don’t you think?

    And I am sure you guys don’t want to look like you have a partisan bias, do you???


    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  11. Sorry to have taken so long to get a round towitt on this, but life happened for a bit…

    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter
    1, August 21, 2013 at 11:35 pm
    Hi Slarti!!!

    Well, the easiest and most understandable way to respond to you, is to use your argument, to wit:


    In other words, a lack of arrests is evidence that in-person voter fraud isn’t statistically significant—something which many arguments already made here suggest is true.

    THEN, wouldn’t a lack of presentation of victims of voter suppression be evidence that voter suppression isn’t statistically significant- something which the court case cited here said:

    You know Squeeks, I thought about addressing this in my original post, but I figured you would bring it up and I didn’t want to deny you the chance to make this argument or deny myself the opportunity to point out its flaws.

    First off, you are correct, it is evidence that suppression efforts have not been successful to date (at least in the last couple of elections), but this is like someone being accused of attempted murder and saying that they were innocent because they were incompetent. The fact that efforts to suppress the vote failed (or were blocked by the courts—something that may not happen next time due to a recent SCOTUS ruling) does not make the attempts okay. In Pennsylvania the state Republicans admitted that they could find no prosecutions or even investigations of in-person voter fraud as well as saying that the voter suppression law they were trying to pass would help Mitt Romney win the state. In Florida, some people had to wait in line for over 4 hours to vote—kudos to the citizens who endured that hardship to exercise their citizenship, but shame on Governor Scott and the Florida Republicans for trying to deprive their constituents of their fundamental democratic right.

    So basically your argument is completely morally bankrupt—the fact that the Republicans didn’t succeed is not justification for the attempt by any stretch of the imagination, nor does it make the attempted over-reaching by people like Ohio SoS Blackwell or Governor Scott any less an abuse of their power.

    As to states which don’t have early voting, they should be encouraged to make voting as easy as possible, but there is a big difference between extending the voters new rights and attempting to take away rights which they already have. No restriction of voting should ever happen in the absence of a truly compelling reason—something which is clearly lacking in this case.

    1. Slartibartfast wrote: “No restriction of voting should ever happen in the absence of a truly compelling reason—something which is clearly lacking in this case.”

      Why not? You are treating voting as if it was a fundamental right. It is not. People can live just fine without voting. If you want to make the case that voting is a fundamental right, you need to argue that first and convince us of it. I do not think you will be able to do it.

      We should make voting harder, not easier. Why do you want to wash out the votes of others with people who have no clue? If someone is so irresponsible or jacked up on drugs that they can’t figure out how to cast a vote for themselves, then they should not be voting. We should have weighted voting rights, not equal voting rights. Some people in society are better able to judge who would make better public servants than others. I would rather have someone knowledgeable about political science cast more votes than a person who doesn’t know the difference between a Republican and Democrat and knows absolutely nothing about a single candidate beyond what is shown on the ballot. Why should the vote of that ignorant person wash out the vote of someone who actually pays attention to the issues at hand?

      1. davidm,

        You feel that not everyone should be allowed to vote and I agree. You yourself have no business voting because you are incapable of constructing a cogent argument based on logic.

  12. @nal:

    Well take a look at this. Here people are giving North Carolina holy heck about cutting back some on early voting, and guess what I just found? A whole bunch of states which don’t even allow early voting. Like:

    New York,
    Rhode Island
    New Hampshire

    Sooo, if a Republican state cuts back on early voting by a few days, that makes them mean, old racist Jim Crow-y states, where if a Democratic state doesn’t even have early voting at all, then that is just AOK???

    Here’s the link. I’m assuming its correct:



    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  13. Squeek,

    “I could probably keep going, . . .”

    Please do. No cites for the ill-informed (like me), and please don’t confuse citations with opinion.

  14. @nal:

    Well, you also have:

    1) a SCOTUS case that says that Photo ID is constitutionally permissible;

    2) a SCOTUS case that says partisan goals do not necessarily make election legal changes wrong;

    3) A bipartisan commission that said Photo ID was necessary;

    4) A SCOTUS where even the dissenting judges gave great deference to said bi-partisan report;

    5) A Democratic state, Rhode Island, which also passed PHOTO ID requirements;

    6) About six+ years of record following the passage of the Indiana law which indicate insignificant effects on voting;

    7)About six+ years of record following the passage of the Indiana law which indicates NO CLEAR DEMOGRAPHIC PATTERN AMONG THEM regarding changes, from folks who I think were dying to find such a pattern;

    8)A complete absence of any mention of any other election choices made by the alleged Jim Crow-y states, such as Indiana permitting ex-felons to vote (which I am like 80% sure of from my brief scan of 2012 regs.); and

    9) Increased voting by minorities AFTER passage of voter ID laws;

    10). No context provided to Photo ID outside of voting, even though if it is an inherently racist undertaking, the effects are hardly restricted to the occasional election; and

    11) No context provided about non “Jim Crow-y” states and their various election laws, such as length of early voting, cut off times, etc.

    I could probably keep going, but I think maybe there are other factors which figure in that are more relevant in the terms of the “argument.” For example, how much credibility does one give a Republican here or there who says something favorable to the Democratic position, while ignoring multiple Republicans who say thing not favorable to the Democratic position. Isn’t that “quote-mining.”

    Another is, why were no studies presented in the formation of thesis from sources UNFAVORABLE to the Democratic position? If the point was to rehash Democratic talking points, then those would be unnecessary. Quote mining would be sufficient. If, OTOH, fairness was supposed to be the point, then the exclusion of Republican-favorable info is inexcusable. Sooo, was this post a simple partisan post, or was it supposed to be a fair analysis, or was it only to have the appearance of fairness in pursuit of partisan goals.

    If this was to be a partisan post, or not, should the author have disclosed his particular interest and party affiliation? This is a genuine question. I am not sure what the norm is in this area. If this was to be a partisan post, should that fact have been disclosed, with an OPINION label on it? Again, I am not sure what the norm is. I am not sure what this blog, in general, is supposed to be about, except a legal blog.

    Finally, and this is “finally” just to keep the length somewhat reasonable, assuming this was not designed as a partisan post, should not more attention have been paid to the existence or possibility of unintentional error? In other words, could persons have been genuinely convinced that there is significant voter fraud, and would that alone, without racial animus, have provided the stimulus for changes in election law.

    Sooo, from my point of view, I do not think that the existence of Jim Crow resurgence has been adequately proven except to those already believing in its existence.

    In fact, with increased minority voting, and no evidence of ill effects on minorities, I think the proposition fails.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  15. Time for a quick review:

    1) We have states with a history of discrimination against minority voters using such “race neutral” devices as: “poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and property qualifications.”

    2) We have states closing polling places in African-American neighborhoods.

    3) We have from Squeeky’s link: requiring a more strict form of identification is
    on its face discriminatory.

    4) I’ve presented links to Republican politicians who admit “that the goal of vote-suppression laws is to reduce the minority vote.”

    5) I’ve presented a GOP consultant who admits that cutting out Sunday before election day was done because “that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves.”

    6) I’ve shown that their stated motivation of voter fraud is nothing but exaggerations and lies.

    When someone presents a law that has a high probability of discriminating against minority voters and claims it’s “race neutral,” there is every reason to doubt them.

  16. davidm2575:

    Your quote from Madison basically explains the difficulties inherent in voting and clearly does not treat voting as an equal right.

    So when Madison favors “equal & universal right of suffrage,” he’s not treating “voting as an equal right?” Interesting reading skills you have there.

  17. David,

    “Voting is only one way in which to measure the consent of the governed.”

    Pray tell, what are the other ways — adulation, bribes, kickbacks?

    “Inherent individual rights include things like life, health, liberty and property.”

    I’ve never seen such a comprehensive list before, thanks.

    “There is an inherent rightness to these things that government cannot take away from any individual without itself becoming lawless.”

    Does the “inherent rightness to these things” include the lives of men, women, and children killed by drones in a place far away? Or is this inherent rightness exclusive to western patriarchal cultures?

    “Voting is not one of these individual rights with which man cannot live without.”

    Try the word “people” sometime, David, (see patriarchal above).

    “They can take away my vote today, and it would not affect me one bit. If they take away my right to vote and rule in a good way, I will dwell in peace with government and there would be no problem.”

    Then why aren’t you, “dwelling in peace with government,” now — especially seeing how you can vote — which you claim is not necessary for you?

    It seems to me that if your ability to accept a benign dictatorship (see your comments upthread) is sincere then why do you spend any time arguing anything concerning governance?

    Could it be that your vision of benign governance closely correlates to your religious beliefs?

  18. gbk,

    “They are actually unnecessary in a small group because the head of the household can easily discern the desires of those he governs, and he can inquire of them when he is unsure of their position.”


    Yes, and he’d assume that the desires of those he governs would, of course, be the same as his. He’d never have to inquire so sure was he that his own desires are the right desires. Or does such a “head of a household” even care what those he governs thinks?

    I’m certainly happy that I married a man who admires strong women and who sees women as equals. He’d never presumes to “discern” what my desires might be. He asks what my opinion is.

    1. Elaine, I surely have misread you. I assumed you would be the head of your household, and that you would be asking your husband what his opinion is.

  19. David,

    “I certainly agree with the aspect of governance being with the consent of the governed, but I think you see a right to vote there that is not inherent in the concept. ”

    Which concept is not inherent, David? The right to vote, or consent of the governed, or voting in general?

    “Most families in the Western world probably operate without voting rights being given to the members of the family. They are actually unnecessary in a small group because the head of the household can easily discern the desires of those he governs, and he can inquire of them when he is unsure of their position.”

    The, “head of the household,” (which is a “he”) can easily discern so much; self-reference much?

    1. gbk wrote: “Which concept is not inherent, David? The right to vote, or consent of the governed, or voting in general?”

      The right to vote is not necessarily part of the concept that government derives its power from the consent of the governed. Voting is only one way in which to measure the consent of the governed.

      Inherent individual rights include things like life, health, liberty and property. There is an inherent rightness to these things that government cannot take away from any individual without itself becoming lawless. When government creates laws that violate these areas, it becomes lawless and must be disobeyed and overthrown.

      Voting is not one of these individual rights with which man cannot live without. They can take away my vote today, and it would not affect me one bit. If they take away my right to vote and rule in a good way, I will dwell in peace with government and there would be no problem. However, if they rule over me unjustly, then they would provoke me to my duty to overthrow that government. Whether I am allowed to vote or not allowed to vote, it makes no difference in my consent to be governed. So voting is more like getting a driver’s license to drive a vehicle. It is a privilege afforded me by government, which is really for their own protection, so they can know who I want or don’t want representing me in government. It is simply a tool of government to measure consent; therefore, voting is not in itself a fundamental human right.

Comments are closed.