If you want to prevent people from voting, there are a variety of ways to do it. Back in the 1960’s, the state of Louisiana had a creative (and awful) way to prevent Black citizens from voting. If they were unsure of your education level (and white people generally got the benefit of the doubt), you had to prove that you had at least a fifth grade education by taking a test that they wrote up.
The intention was to prevent Blacks from voting, and it worked. The “State of Louisiana Literacy Test” was complicated, vague, and intentionally confusing. Many questions were written to have multiple interpretations, so even if you got it right, the (white) registrar could say it was wrong. Related, you were required to get every question right; a single wrong answer meant you failed the test and wouldn’t be allowed to vote.
Here is a copy of the test to try yourself. You have 10 minutes to take it, and you need to get 100% correct. Good luck.
While there’s a chance you passed, it’s highly unlikely (and I can argue that you misinterpreted a question if I want to). A group of Harvard students all took the test a few years ago, and they all failed.
As shared in an article from the Daily Mail:
‘Louisiana’s literacy test was designed to be failed. Just like all the other literacy tests issued in the South at the time, this test was not about testing literacy at all. It was a legitimate sounding, but devious measure that the State of Louisiana used to disenfranchise people that had the wrong skin tone or belonged to the wrong social class. And just like that, countless black and poor white voters in the South were disenfranchised.’
Things are still far from perfect, but there is a very high likelihood that if you’re reading this text, you have the ability to vote. Use it.