Voting Rights Throughout History

  • Removal of Property requirements for Massachusetts

    Removal of Property requirements for Massachusetts
    In the 1780s Massachusetts passed a law that removed the property requirement for voters which didn't allow people to vote if they didn't have a certain dollar amount in the land. This allowed lower-class people to vote and participate in electing government officials.
    Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • 15th Amendment Ratified

    15th Amendment Ratified
    The ratification of the 15th Amendment granted African American men the right to vote. In reality, the 15th Amendment was only another small step in the struggle for equality of African Americans.
    National Archives
  • Alice Paul

    Alice Paul
    In 1910 Alice was in England and met an American named Lucy Burns, she and Lucy joined the Women's Suffrage Group where they learned militant protest tactics that included picketing and hunger strikes. This was only the beginning for Alice as she went on to be one of the top advocates for the women's suffrage group and is a key reason why the 19th Amendment was passed.
    National Women's History Museum
  • Guinn vs. US

    Guinn vs. US
    Guinn vs. US was a Supreme Court case that struck down the Oklahoma "grandfather clause", which allowed citizens whose grandfathers were able to vote in 1866 to not have to take a required literacy test to vote. The Supreme Court ruled that this was unconstitutional because it violated the 15th amendment and discriminated against black Americans.
    Oklahoma Historical Society
  • Congress Passes the 19th amendment

    Congress Passes the 19th amendment
    The 19th amendment was passed on June 4th, 1919 and it gave women the right to vote as it said it was illegal to deny someone's voting rights because of gender. Dating back to the 1800s, women fought for voting rights for decades as they petitioned and picketed for the right to vote.
    National Archives
  • Indian Citizenship Act Passed

    Indian Citizenship Act Passed
    The Indian Citizenship Act granted all Native Americans born in the US citizenship. However, the right to vote was governed by state law, and many states barred Native Americans from voting until 1957.
    Library of Congress
  • McCarran-Walter Act

    McCarran-Walter Act
    The McCarran-Walker Act, also commonly known as the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 helped create opportunities for Asian Immigration. This act or law repealed the last of the existing measures to exclude Asian immigration, as well as eliminating laws preventing Asians from becoming naturalized American citizens.Office Of The Historian
  • Congress Passes 24th amendment

    Congress Passes 24th amendment
    The 24th Amendment was passed on January 23rd, 1964, and it forbids the federal and state governments from imposing taxes on voters during federal elections. This eliminated one of the discriminatory methods that states used to keep African Americans from voting, however, this also affected the poor whites but it was targeted towards the African Americans.
    National Archives
  • Reynolds v. Sims Decision

    Reynolds v. Sims Decision
    Voters from Jefferson County, Alabama challenged the apportionment structure of their State House and Senate and the Supreme Court held up the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, applying the "one-person, one-vote" clause. This impacted state governments around the country as they would be forced to change their apportionment systems to approximate the one-person-one-vote principle.
    Rose Institute of State and Local Government
  • Freedom Summer

    Freedom Summer
    Freedom Summer, also known as the Mississippi Summer Project, was a 1964 voter registration drive aimed at increasing the number of black voters. However, this voter drive was met by violent resistance from the Ku Klux Klan and members of state and local law enforcement. This allowed for lots of new coverage that drew international attention to the civil rights movement.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Voting Rights Act of 1965
    This act essentially enforced the 15th amendment as it helped African Americans take another step to equality. This act forbid literacy tests being required for someone to vote, ultimatlry prohibiting another way they were restricting the African Americans right.
    National Archives
  • Jennings Randolph

    Jennings Randolph
    Jennings Randolph, also known as the "Father of the 26th Amendment", was dedicated and committed to lowering the voting age to 18. Throughout his forty-year career in Congress, he introduced legislation to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 eleven times and ultimately wrote the version of the amendment that was passed by Congress on March 23rd, 1971.
    Center for Youth Political Participation
  • Ratification of The 26th Amendment

    Ratification of The 26th Amendment
    The 26th Amendment lowered the voting age of U.S. citizens from 21 to 18. As the Vietnam War progressed and the US was sending more soldiers over, many complaints about young men being drafted and not being able to vote arose. The "Old enough to fight, old enough to vote!" slogan became popular at this time.
    National Archives
  • Military and Overseas Empowerment Act

    Military and Overseas Empowerment Act
    This act protects the right of service members to vote in federal elections regardless of where they are stationed. As long as them or their family members are citizens of the united states and reside outside of the country due to stationing of the military they are allowed to vote for federal offices.
    U.S. Department of Justice
  • Americans With Disabilities Act

    Americans With Disabilities Act
    Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires state and local governments to ensure that people with disabilities have a full and equal opportunity to vote. This law applies to all aspects of voting, including the physical accessibility of polling places to allow citizens with disabilities to vote in person.
    U.S. Department of Justice
  • Motor Voter Law

    Motor Voter Law
    Passed in 1993 the motor voter law put forth certain voter registration requirements with respect to elections to federal office. It required that states must offer voter registration opportunities at state motor vehicle agencies and offer it by mail-in.
    U.S. Department of Justice
  • Help America Vote Act

    Help America Vote Act
    The Help America Vote Act was signed by President Bush in 2002 to make sweeping reforms to the nation's voting process, as a result of the issues identified in the 2000 election. The law provides funding to help states meet new standards, replace voting systems, and improve election administration.
    United States Election Assistance Commission
  • Shelby County vs Holder

    Shelby County vs Holder
    This case stemmed from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to make sure state nor local governments pass laws or policies that deny American citizens the equal right to vote based on race. On June 25h, 2013 ruled that the coverage in Formula 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional because it was based on an old formula. This meant Section 5 was unable to work until Congress created a new coverage act.Brennan Center For Justice
  • Florida's 4th amendment

    Florida's 4th amendment
    This amendment for Florida was passed on November 6th, 2018, known as Voting Rights Restoration. This amendment allows someone in Florida with felony convictions to restore their voting rights after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. However there was an exception for murderers and sexual offenders, they were not allowed to gain it back.Marion County Supervisors of Elections
  • John Lewis Voting Rights Act

    John Lewis Voting Rights Act
    This is a bill that has not been passed by Congress yet. The purpose of this bill is to restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act. This bill was reintroduced in the 118th Congress on September 19, 2023, in the House of Representatives and has not yet been reintroduced in the Senate.
    Human Rights Campaign