Quote of the day

Alexander Keyssar wrote (2000 and 2009, xxi):

The history of suffrage in the United States was…shaped by forces that opposed or resisted a broader franchise, forces that at times succeeded in contracting the right to vote and often serviced to retard its expansion. Once again, most of these forces or factors have long been recognized: racist and sexist beliefs and attitudes, ethnic antagonisms, partisan interests, and political theories and ideological convictions that linked the health of the state to a narrow franchise.

One important factor, however, has received little or no attention: class tension. The concept of class has long carried heavy ideological freight and at times has been the great unspoken word in America’s officially classless society….A wide-angle look at the full span of suffrage history — considering all restrictions on voting rights throughout the nation — strongly suggests that class relations and apprehensions constituted the single most important obstacle to universal suffrage in the United States from the late eighteenth to the 1960s.

Worse than Jim Crow

Think Progress‘ Ian Millhiser reported that:

Earlier this week, the state of Tennessee denied Dorothy Cooper, a 96 year-old African-American, the voter ID she is now required to produce in order to vote at her polling place — citing her inability to produce her marriage certificate. Cooper voted in every election but one since she became eligible to vote, including many elections during the Jim Crow Era.

Indeed, in an interview yesterday with MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, Cooper explained that Tennessee’s new voter suppression law did more to keep her from voting than anything she experienced during Jim Crow….