Ann Coulter joined Fox and Friends on another trip down the vote suppression rabbit hole. This time Fox and Friends joined Coulter in her long crusade to bring back literacy tests to disenfranchise voters.
The idea came up for discussion after a Fox reporter interviewed several New Yorkers who couldn’t identify, Marco Rubio.
Watch here. (Video via Media Matters)
Brian Kilmeade, host of Fox and Friends, opened up the discussion by observing, “studies show that Americas are poorly informed on government and politics.” Of course, this claim opened things up for Kilmeade to ask ever so innocently, “So, is it time to revisit a test for people to be able to vote?”
Ironically while making the case for literacy tests Coulter proved she was is the sort of person that Kilmeade was talking about when she said, ”I think it should be, well for one thing, a little more difficult to vote. There’s nothing unconstitutional about literacy tests.”
While that claim corresponds with the Republican Party’s fantasy of an America where only Republican votes would count, it also shows us that Ann Coulter “doesn’t know what’s going on.”
In fact, there is something unconstitutional about literacy tests as a device to disenfranchise voters. Literacy tests were outlawed in the Voting Rights Act. This was after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that using literacy tests to disenfranchise eligible voters is unconstitutional.
Coulter may wish to familiarize herself with Guinn v. United States – a case decided in 1915.
In that case, Oklahoma tried to apply the Coulter philosophy on voting rights by amending its constitution to disenfranchise people who couldn’t pass that state’s version of a literacy test.
The Supreme Court ruled that amendment along with similar ones in the constitutions of Maryland, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Virginia were “repugnant to the 15th Amendment.”
Oklahoma’s subsequent efforts to disenfranchise voters with literacy tests were struck down again in Lane v. Wilson.
But the narrow basis of the supplemental registration, the very brief normal period of relief for the persons and purposes in question, the practical difficulties, of which the record in this case gives glimpses, inevitable in the administration of such strict registration provisions, leave no escape from the conclusion that the means chosen as substitutes for the invalidated “grandfather clause” were themselves invalid under the Fifteenth Amendment.
States continued to subscribe to the Coulter theory of “knowing what’s going on” by finding means to circumvent court rulings – until Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which does prohibit literacy tests as a means to disenfranchise voters.
Kilmeade went on to suggest we should “force people to understand what’s going on before we allow them to vote.” Of course, Fox and Friends would be perfect for that, right?
“Forcing people to understand what’s going on” does not mean public education according to Ann Coulter.
“As for civic education, that usually means 12 more years of the Chinese-style propaganda in public schools, which only means you are dumber that someone who has not gone to school.”
When challenged on the fact that literacy tests are illegal, Coulter countered with, “fake literacy tests were used after the Civil War by Democrats to keep blacks from voting.”
Coulter continued the Republican Party’s narrative that Democrats benefit from vote theft and uninformed voters.
“Is a completely ignorant voter better for the Democratic Party or the Republican Party? The Democratic Party,”
In reality, Ann Coulter has long advocated literacy tests and poll taxes, designed to disenfranchise blacks and other identifiable groups who tend to vote Democrat. Her comments on Fox and Friends are really just a rehash of her belief in literacy tests and poll taxes as she said on Hannity and Friends on August 17, 1997 and repeated on the Fox program, “Your World” on September 29, 2006.
As for who benefits from ignorant voters, well Coulter is a Republican, who claims that using literacy tests to disenfranchise voters is “not unconstitutional.” It’s Republicans who throw snowballs as “proof” that climate change doesn’t exist and it’s Republicans who have been looking to the past to find ways to cheat their way to victory in elections.
Ms. Woodbury has a graduate degree in political science, with a minor in law. She is a qualified expert on political theory with a specific interest in the nexus between political theories and models and human rights.
Based on her interest in human rights and the threats that authoritarian regimes are to them, Ms. Woodbury’s masters thesis examined the influence of politics on the enforcement of international criminal law was cited in several academic studies.
Published work includes case summaries for the War Crimes Research Office.
She has an extensive background doing legal research in international and domestic law.
Ms. Woodbury’s work for politicusUSA includes articles on voting rights, the right to asylum and other civil/human rights.