Tom Tancredo’s Literacy Test: The Controversy That Wasn’t (Video)
NASHVILLE — The closest thing to a controversy at the National Tea Party Convention has been the opening speech by former congressman Tom Tancredo, in which he complained that “we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country.” That remark led to the expected backlash, with plenty of people pointing out the history of literacy tests. And as Tancredo walked around the small convention area today, he talked into recorder after camera after notebook.
“I don’t want anybody to be refused the right to vote if, maybe, they have to mark [the ballot] with an X,” said Tancredo in a short interview with John Avlon of the Daily Beast. “I do think they should have to know something about how the government works.” He suggested using the citizenship test that immigrants take — maybe, he said, voters could take it “verbally.”
How did Tea Party organizers respond to the questions? Judson Phillips basically agreed with Tom Tancredo and called it a “fantastic speech.”