THE BALANCE SHEET
Some of the setbacks in voter registration in the South following passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were the clear result of continuing institutional bias. Even under a Democratic Administration pledged to its implementation, only 64 of the 556 Southern counties covered under the terms of the Act were ever assigned federal examiners for direct voter registration (there were none in Virginia and North Carolina and only two in South Carolina). and not a single county was added to the list in the first year of the Nixon Administration. The outlawing of literacy tests in the seven affected states, moreover, did not prevent registrars from imposing their own tests of residency, such as the requirements to produce utility bills addressed to the applicant as long as a year earlier. Black tenant farmers were sometimes threatened with eviction by their White landlords if they were seen filling out a registration form, and other poor folk were warned that the price of registering might be to lose welfare checks or have credit cut off at the crossroads grocery store.
In the five years between passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the adoption of an amended Act in 1970 the pace of Black registration in the South nevertheless quickened perceptibly. Compared with the 326,286 Blacks put on the rolls in the seven states between 1960 and 1965, 988,000 were added between