Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Alabama Voter's Literacy Test - 1965

Lately there have been a lot of people; both Liberal and Conservative; who have called for the return of “literacy tests” to become eligible to Vote. This is in addition to the Conservative movement to roll back the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The photograph above was taken just after LBJ signed that bill into law in August 1965.  Among the people in the photograph are MLK and Rosa Parks.

Most people that call for the return of literacy tests are speaking in jest; more like exasperation at the views of the people who hold different political views than they themselves have. But, just for fun, I’d like everyone to take this 1965 Alabama test and see how they would score. Keep in mind that your level of education is far greater than that of the average African-American who would have been required to take this test in the 1960’s. And remember, in Alabama at the time education was a privilege and not a right for the people required to take this test.

The next time you hear someone talk about how “there ought to be a test for voting” whip this out and see how they would fare. You have about 15 minutes to complete the test and one wrong answer is a failing grade. You will be surprised at how little you think you know.

1. Which of the following is a right guaranteed by the Bill of Rights?
 _____Public Education
 _____Trial by Jury

 2. The federal census of population is taken every five years.
 _____True _____False

 3. If a person is indicted for a crime, name two rights which he has. ______________________ ________________________

 4. A U.S. senator elected at the general election in November takes office the following year on what date? _________________________________________________

 5. A President elected at the general election in November takes office the following year on what date? ______________________________________________________________________

 6. Which definition applies to the word "amendment?"
 _____Proposed change, as in a Constitution
 _____Make of peace between nationals at war
 _____A part of the government

 7. A person appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court is appointed for a term of __________.

 8. When the Constitution was approved by the original colonies, how many states had to ratify it in order for it to be in effect? _________________________________________

 9. Does enumeration affect the income tax levied on citizens in various states? __________

 10. A person opposed to swearing in an oath may say, instead: I (solemnly) ______________________________________________________________

 11. To serve as President of the United States, a person must have attained:
 _____25 years of age
 _____35 years of age
 _____40 years of age
 _____45 years of age

 12. What words are required by law to be on all coins and paper currency of the U.S.? ________________________________________________________________________

 13. The Supreme Court is the chief lawmaking body of the state.
 _____True _____False

 14. If a law passed by a state is contrary to provisions of the U.S. Constitution, which law prevails? ________________________________________________________________________

 15. If a vacancy occurs in the U.S. Senate, the state must hold an election, but meanwhile the place may be filled by a temporary appointment made by ________________________________________________________________________.

 16. A U.S. senator is elected for a term of _____ years.

 17. Appropriation of money for the armed services can be only for a period limited to _____ years.

 18. The chief executive and the administrative offices make up the ___________________ branch of government.

 19. Who passes laws dealing with piracy? ________________________________________________________________________

 20. The number of representatives which a state is entitled to have in the House of Representatives is based on _________________________________________________

 21. The Constitution protects an individual against punishments which are _______________ and _______________________.

 22. When a jury has heard and rendered a verdict in a case, and the judgment on the verdict has become final, the defendant cannot again be brought to trial for the same cause.
 _____True _____False

 23. Name two levels of government which can levy taxes: ________________________________________________________________________

 24. Communism is the type of government in: _____U.S.

 25. Cases tried before a court of law are two types, civil and _________________________.

 26. By a majority vote of the members of Congress, the Congress can change provisions of the Constitution of the U.S.
 _____True _____False

 27. For security, each state has a right to form a _________________________________.

 28. The electoral vote for President is counted in the presence of two bodies. Name them: _____________________________________________________________________

 29. If no candidate for President receives a majority of the electoral vote, who decides who will become President? ___________________________________________________

 30. Of the original 13 states, the one with the largest representation in the first Congress was ______________________________________________________________________.

 31. Of which branch of government is the Speaker of the House a part? _____Executive

 32. Capital punishment is the giving of a death sentence.
 _____True _____False

 33. In case the President is unable to perform the duties of his office, who assumes them? ___________________________________________________________________

 34. "Involuntary servitude" is permitted in the U.S. upon conviction of a crime.
 _____True _____False

 35. If a state is a party to a case, the Constitution provides that original jurisdiction shall be in ______________________________________________________________________.

 36. Congress passes laws regulating cases which are included in those over which the U.S. Supreme Court has ____________________________________________ jurisdiction.

 37. Which of the following is a right guaranteed by the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.
 _____Public Housing
 _____Trial by Jury

 38. The Legislatures of the states decide how presidential electors may be chosen.
 _____True _____False

 39. If it were proposed to join Alabama and Mississippi to form one state, what groups would have to vote approval in order for this to be done? ________________________________________________________________________

 40. The Vice President presides over ____________________________________________.

 41. The Constitution limits the size of the District of Columbia to ______________________________________________________________________.

 42. The only laws which can be passed to apply to an area in a federal arsenal are those passed by ___________________________________________ provided consent for the purchase of the land is given by the _________________________________________.

 43. In which document or writing is the "Bill of Rights" found? ______________________.

 44. Of which branch of government is a Supreme Court justice a part?

 45. If no person receives a majority of the electoral votes, the Vice President is chosen by the
 Senate. _____True _____False

 46. Name two things which the states are forbidden to do by the U.S. Constitution. ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

 47. If election of the President becomes the duty of the U.S. House of Representatives and it fails to act, who becomes President and when? _______________________________________________________________________

 48. How many votes must a person receive in order to become President if the election is decided by the U.S. House of Representatives? _______________________________

 49. How many states were required to approve the original Constitution in order for it to be in effect? ______________________________________________________________

 50. Check the offenses which, if you are convicted of them, disqualify you for voting:
 _____Issuing worthless checks
 _____Petty larceny
 _____Manufacturing whiskey

 51. The Congress decides in what manner states elect presidential electors.
 _____True _____False

 52. Name two of the purposes of the U.S. Constitution. _________________________________________________________________________

 53. Congress is composed of __________________________________________________.

 54. All legislative powers granted in the U.S. Constitution may legally be used only by ______________________________________________________________________.

 55. The population census is required to be made very _____ years.

 56. Impeachments of U.S. officials are tried by ___________________________________.

 57. If an effort to impeach the President of the U.S. is made, who presides at the trial? _____________________________________________________________________

 58. On the impeachment of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of the U.S., who tries the case? ________________________________________________________________

 59. Money is coined by order of:
 _____U.S. Congress
 _____The President's Cabinet
 _____State Legislatures

 60. Persons elected to cast a state's vote for U.S. President and Vice President are called presidential _________________________________________________________.

 61. Name one power which is exclusively legislative and is mentioned in one of the parts of the U.S. Constitution above______________________________________________.

 62. If a person flees from justice into another state, who has authority to ask for his return? _____________________________________________________________________

 63. Whose duty is it to keep Congress informed of the state of the union? _____________________________________________________________________

 64. If the two houses of Congress cannot agree on adjournment, who sets the time? _____________________________________________________________________

 65. When presidential electors meet to cast ballots for President, must all electors in a state vote for the same person for President or can they vote for different persons if they so choose? _____________________________________________________________________

 66. After the presidential electors have voted, to whom do they send the count of their votes? _____________________________________________________________________

 67. The power to declare war is vested in ________________________________________.

 68. Any power and rights not given to the U.S. or prohibited to the states by the U.S. Constitution are specified as belonging to whom? ______________________________

Here are the answers;

1. Trial by Jury only
 2. False (every 10 years)
 3. Habeas Corpus (immediate presentation of charges); lawyer; speedy trial.
 4. January 3
 5. January 20
 6. Proposed change, as in a Constitution
 7. Life (with good behavior)
 8. Nine
 9. Yes
 10. Affirm
 11. 35
 12. In God We Trust
 13. False
 14. U.S. Constitution
 15. The governor
 16. Six
 17. Two
 18. Executive
 19. Congress
 20. Population (as determined by census) less untaxed Indians
 21. Cruel and unusual
 22. True
 23. State and local
 24. Russia
 25. Criminal
 26. False
 27. Militia
 28. House of Representatives, Senate
 29. House of Representatives
 30. Virginia
 31. Legislative
 32. True
 33. The Vice President
 34. True
 35. The Supreme Court
 36. Co-appellate
 37. Trial by Jury
 38. True
 39. Congress and the legislatures of both states
 40. The Senate
 41. 10 miles square
 42. Congress; state legislatures
 43. Constitution
 44. Judicial
 45. True
 46. Coin money; make treaties
 47. The Vice President, until the House acts
 48. 26
 49. 9
 50. Murder
 51. False
 52. (Preamble statements) "to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."
 53. House of Representatives and Senate
 54. Congress
 55. 10
 56. The Senate
 57. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
 58. The Senate
 59. The U.S. Congress
 60. Electors
 61. Pass laws, coin money, declare war
 62. The Governor
 63. The President
 64. The President
 65. They can vote for different people
 66. Vice President (President of the Senate)
 67. Congress 
 68. The states; the people

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