will probably advocate one; but the election committee, in its final meeting, did not. On the other hand, the committee, which was sharply divided on some subjects, sided with those who contend \(as Harris County clerk that “any kind of registration ought to be on an annual basis. If voters won’t make two trips to exercise their citizenship, they ought not have that right.” The committee also advocated, Texas Legislative Council staff researcher Mary K. Wall reports from their closed session, adopting the same Jan. 31 deadline for registration that now applies for poll tax payments, but they would not have the voter charged any fee for registering, and they would continue the provisions protecting one party’s primaries from invasions by members of another party. In American politics, as Richard M. Scammon, director of the U.S. Bureau of the Census, writes in the spring issue of Law and Contemporary Affairs, “. . . the wealthy vote more than the poor, the Negro less than the white . . .” and this has “obvious consequences in our contemporary American politics.” In Texas presently one of those consequences is the emergence of alignments for and against a permanent, feeless voter registration ssytem that would make it easy for any eligible adult Texan to vote. Gov .-elect John Connally’s address to the new legislature next month will be read closely by political leaders of all complexions for his stand on this subject. The non-partisan Texas League of Women Voters, represented by its 6 The Texas Observer president, Mrs. Maurice Brown of Waco, proposed to the election committee a permanent registration systemthat is, one-time-only registration, with periodic purging of the names of the ineligible and the dead. Roy Evans, secretary-treasurer of the Texas AFL-CIO, advocated, on behalf of labor, “permanent voter registration, up to within 30 days of an election, at no fee; and with no reregistration necessary unless the voter moves” or fails to vote in a twoyear period. John Daniel, Bexar County Democratic chairman, and Glenn Byrd, county clerk of Dallas County, favored a similar law. Ralph C. Giles, tax assessor-collector of Guadalupe County, gave the committee materials on a voter registration system now in use in about half the states of the union. In this system, which uses I.B.M. and photocopy machines, duplicate cards are filled out on each voter; one is kept in locked files, and one is used at the polls. An East Texas dissent was heard from Isaac Satterwhite, chairman of the Harrison County Democratic committee, who favors the poll tax. If its abolition is inevitable, he said registration should be accompanied by a fee and a “comprehensive” literacy test. A couple of witnesses agreed with him. Rep. Bob Eckhardt of Houston inquired whether literacy meant ability to speak and read English, and if so, whether a citizen would not be allowed to vote if he could not read Little Orphan Annie, but could read Don Quixote in the Spanish. A. C. Shirley, Orange County Democratic chairman, said there are lots of French-speaking people in his area who cannot speak English but are shrewd voters; Sen. Kazen may have had some of his own Mexican-American supporters in mind when he said that “there are lots of [voters] in my district who can’t read and who vote very intelligently.” Mrs. Encarnacion P. Armas of San Antonio, appearing for the National Council of Spanish Speaking People, made one of the most impressive presentations, partly because she was so impressive herself, bedecked in a dashing purple hat and a lacy purple dress, and speaking in broken English with intense sincerity. She described the disfranchisement of Puerto Ricans in New York City by a literacy test, and she insisted that the $1.75 poll tax does, in truth, disfranchise voters in that it often poses, among her people, the question of whether you have meat on your table for your children, or just vegetables. “This is a choice that it is hard for a mother to make,” she said. Mrs. Charles Webster, legislative chairman of the North Dallas Democratic Women, advocated keeping registration open as close to the elections as possible. The , Travis County Democratic Women, through their spokesman, Mrs. Leon Donn, added a proposal that permanent registration offices be established and kept open throughout the year. On the problem of who would do the registering, some county clerks suggested to the committee that the tax assessors or somebody else do it; some tax assessors suggested the clerks or somebody else do it. The committee’s recommendations: the tax collectors. AT THE MINIMUM, a registration system must provide a register of the names of all persons qualified to vote in a jurisdiction for use at the polls on election day. Registration of voters can be either permanent or renewable. The chief controversy in voter registration, , according to political scientist V. 0. Key, has concerned whether it should be permanent or periodic. In 1954 the National Municipal League published a volume on a model voter registration system. At that time permanent registration was in effect in all parts of 28 states and in parts of ten others. The model system proposed by the league’s voter registration committee of political scientists, politicians, election officials, attorneys, League of Women Voters representatives, and a labor official was summarized: “A voter should register by duplicate signature before a trained clerk of the registration office by a personal appearance at any time of year, and one such registration should suffice till the voter dies or moves or persistently fails to vote. Lists of the registered voters by precincts and street addresses should be readily obtainable. Procedure for transfer to address should be simple. Lists should be purged routinely after warning of purge addressed to the voter by firstclass mail.” The league said that its plan involved no untried novelties. “The model is a composite of the best practices long in effect,” it said. “By 1940,” said the league, “practically all the populous urban states outside of the South had enacted per
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