nIn 1965, Congress saw the need to act to ensure African-Americans
access to the ballot box.The Voting Rights Act totally outlawed the use of literacy tests as a condition of voting in seven
southern states where
African-American voting had lagged far behind that of whites.
nIn addition, the act had a triggering mechanism by which
federal registrars would be sent
to any county in these states in which fewer than fifty percent of those of voting age
population were registered
to vote in the 1964 Presidential election.
nThe effect of the Voting Rights Act was dramatic. Black
registration and voting
nBy the mid 1970s, African-Americans were voting in
numbers that approached
that of Whites, and several thousand African-Americans had been elected to state and local office.Blacks became such a force in the politics of the southern states that very
few politicians could afford
to risk alienating them.