Glossary: Voting and Political Participation in Texas

ballot fatigue: occurs when someone votes only for the top or important ballot positions, such as president or governor, and stops voting rather than continue to the bottom of a long ballot

Jim Crow Laws: This term, which came to be used to designate any law requiring racial segregation, was borrowed from a racially stereotyped black character in a common nineteenth-century song-and-dance act.

compulsory voting: an effect of laws which require eligible citizens to register and vote in elections, and may impose penalties on those who fail to do so.

grandfather clause: Part of the system of Jim Crow in southern states used to enforce segregation in primary elections. In its typical usage, a voter could vote in Democratic primary elections if his grandfather had been able to vote in Democratic primaries. Blacks whose ancestors had been slaves were thereby excluded but whites were made eligible, even poor whites who might otherwise be disenfranchised by the burden of a poll tax or by literacy requirements.

literacy test: A test of a voter's ability to read and understand and hence vote intelligently, typically used in a discriminatory manner in some states until Congress suspended the use of such tests in the Voting Rights Acts of 1970 and 1975.

political efficacy: the feeling that they have any influence over the direction of their government

poll taxes: A tax of a fixed amount per person levied as a condition of voting. Poll taxes generally were not intended to raise revenue so much as to restrict the size of the electorate by making voting more costly. Amendment Twenty- Four added to the U.S. Constitution in 1964 outlawed the use of a poll tax as a pre-condition for voting in any election for federal office. The U.S. Supreme Court extended the ban to all state and local elections in 1966.

walk list: a list of street addresses at which at least one registered voter lives

white primary: primary election in which only white voters are eligible to participate