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Voting and Elections

Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 (The Snyder Act)

Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 (The Snyder Act)

On June 2, 1924, Congress enacted the Indian Citizenship Act, which granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S. The right to vote, however, was governed by state law; until 1957, some states barred Native Americans from voting. - Library of Congress

Timeline of Native American Struggle for Voting Rights

1869- The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution is passed by Congress to all citizens regardless of race. Native Americans were not considered citizens at the time of this amendment's addition to the Constitution.

1876-1887- Native Americans are denied Citizenship: U.S Supreme Court rules that Native Americans are not citizens and cannot vote. In 1887 Native Americans can become citizens if they complete the naturalization process and disassociate from their tribe.

1924- The Indian Citizenship Act (also known as the  Snyder Act) was passed. This act "admitted Native Americans born in the U.S. to full U.S. citizenship" (Library of Congress, para. 4). Once again, states has provisions to enable voting restrictions.

1937- Montana passes a law that voting is permitted for only taxpayers, even though Native Americans, living on the Reservation, are exempt from some local taxes. This law prevented them from being able to register to vote in the state. These laws remained in effect until 1975. (ACLU, 2020, para.4)

1940- The Nationality Act was passed by Congress, which reaffirmed Native Americans' U.S. citizenship.

1948- Native Americans in New Mexico and Arizona successful won landmark cases  upholding their right to vote- Arizona: Harrison v. Laveen; New Mexico: Trujillo v. Garley (Intermountain Histories.org, 2020; PBS, 2020; & AmericanBar.org, 2020).

1957 and 1958- Utah and North Dakota the last states to afford on-reservation Native Americans the right to vote (AmericanBar.org, 2020).

1962- Utah becomes the last state to remove barriers and guarantee Native American voting rights (PBS, 2020; History.com, 2020).

 

 

1965- The Voting Rights Act is passed, outlawing discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the civil war, including literacy tests and authorized the U.S. attorney general to investigate the use of poll taxes in state and local elections.

1970- The Supreme Court upheld the ban against using literacy tests in the case of Oregon v. Mitchell. Native Americans in the state of Arizona could not fully vote until this ruling. (American Bar Association, 2020). 

2004- Arizona passed a Voter ID law requiring "(a) persons to provide proof of citizenship to register to vote; (b) voters to present a photo identification before receiving a ballot at the polling place; and (c) state and local agencies to verify the identity and eligibility, based on immigration status, of applicants for non-federally mandated public benefits."

2013- The Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 vote, invalidated section 5, requiring certain states and local governments to obtain federal preclearance before implementing any changes to their voting laws or practices.

2019- Congress introduced the Native American Voting Rights Act to remove voting barriers that effect Native Americans and Alaska Native Voters.

Voting Rights Act

Voting Rights Act of 1965

Please click through this box for a timeline of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

The Voting Rights Act is a historic civil rights law that is meant to ensure that the right to vote is not denied on account of race or color. -Timeline by  ACLU

1866: Civil Rights Act of 1866 grants citizenship, but not the right to vote, to all native-born Americans.

1869: Congress passes the Fifteenth Amendment giving African American men the right to vote.

1896: Louisiana passes "grandfather clauses" to keep former slaves and their descendants from voting. As a result, registered black voters drops from 44.8% in 1896 to 4.0% four years later. Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, and Virginia follow Louisiana's lead by enacting their own grandfather clauses.

1964: Poll taxes are outlawed with the adoption of the 24th Amendment.

1965: More than 500 non-violent civil rights marchers are attacked by law enforcement officers while attempting to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to demand the need for African American voting rights.

1965: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act into law, permanently barring barriers to political participation by racial and ethnic minorities, prohibiting any election practice that denies the right to vote on account of race, and requiring jurisdictions with a history of discrimination in voting to get federal approval for changes in their election laws before they can take effect.

1965: By the end of 1965, 250,000 new black voters are registered, one-third of them by federal examiners.

1970: President Richard Nixon signed an extension of the Voting Rights Act. 

1972
Barbara Jordan of Houston and Andrew Young of Atlanta become the first African Americans elected to Congress from the South since Reconstruction.

1975: President Gerald Ford signed an extension of the Voting Rights Act.

1982: President Ronald Reagan signed a 25-year extension of the Voting Rights Act.

1990: Due, in part, to the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, the number of black elected officials in Georgia grows to 495 in 1990 from just three prior to the VRA.

2006
Congress extended Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for an additional 25 years.

2011: Restrictions to voting passed in South Carolina, Texas, and Florida are found to disproportionately impact minority voters.

2010 to Present: Since 2010 alone, the Department of Justice has had 18 Section 5 objections to voting laws in Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

2011: A record number of restrictions to voting were introduced in state legislatures nationwide, including photo ID requirements, cuts to early voting, and restrictions to voter registration. Many of these states have histories of voter discrimination and are covered under the VRA.

States requiring federal approval: New Hampshire, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, South Dakota, California, Alaska.

2011: Restrictions to voting passed in South Carolina, Texas, and Florida are found to disproportionately impact minority voters.

2011: Florida passed a law that restricts voter registration and made cuts to early voting. The majority of African Americans in Florida rely on early voting to cast a ballot and register to vote through community-based registration.

2011: Texas passed one of the nation's most restrictive voter ID laws. Under the VRA, the state was required to submit the law to DOJ or the DC federal district court for approval. The court blocked the law, citing racial impact. 

2011: Under the VRA, the DOJ blocked South Carolina's voter ID law, saying it discriminates against minority voters. The DC federal district court later precleared the law but only because the state agreed that an ID was not required for voting. 

2011:South Carolina passed a restrictive voter ID law that would keep more than 180,000 African Americans from casting a ballot. 

2013: The ACLU represented the NAACP's Alabama chapter in Shelby v. Holder. In the decision, the Supreme Court crippled one of the most effective protection for the right to vote by rendering ineffective the requirement that certain jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination get pre-approval for voting changes. States have wasted no time enacting potentially discriminatory laws including Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, South Dakota, Iowa, and Indiana.

The History and Legacy of Jim Crow Laws

The History and Legacy of Jim Crow Laws

Please click through this box for a short history of Jim Crow Laws in the United States. This is brief account will detail the Reconstruction era, the disenfranchisement Jim Crow laws caused, and modern forms of Jim Crow.  

The History of Jim Crow Laws

Please click on the above picture to access the e-book. Click to the next slide to read about the history and legacy of Jim Crow laws. 

The History of Jim Crow Laws Continued

  • During the Reconstruction period of 1865–1877 in the defeated South (the Confederacy), federal law protected the civil rights of "freedmen," the liberated African slaves. In the 1870s, white Democrats gradually returned to power in southern states, sometimes due to elections in which paramilitary groups intimidated opponents, attacking blacks or preventing them from voting. Gubernatorial elections were close and disputed in Louisiana for years, with extreme violence unleashed during the campaign.     

  • In 1877 a national compromise to gain Southern support in the presidential election resulted in the last of the federal troops being withdrawn from the South. White Democrats had taken back power in every state, followed in each Southern state by a white, Democratic Party Redeemer government that legislated Jim Crow laws segregating black people from the state's population. 

The History of Jim Crow Laws Continued

  • Black people were still elected to local offices in the 1880s. Still, white Democrats passed laws to make voter registration and elections more restrictive, resulting in most blacks and many poor whites began to decrease. Starting with Mississippi in 1890, through 1910, the former Confederate states passed new constitutions or amendments. These new laws effectively disfranchised most blacks and tens of thousands of poor whites through a combination of poll taxes, literacy and comprehension tests, and residency and record-keeping requirements. Grandfather clauses temporarily permitted some illiterate whites to vote. Voter turnout dropped drastically through the South as a result of such measures. 

  • Denied the ability to vote, blacks could not serve on juries or in the local office. They could not influence the state legislatures, and, predictably, their interests were overlooked. While Reconstruction legislatures had established public schools, those for black children were consistently underfunded. - Timeline by Ballotpedia.org 

Modern Forms of Jim Crow Laws

Please click on the above picture to access the book. Click to the next slide to read about felony disenfranchisement is a new form of Jim Crow Laws.

Modern Forms of Jim Crow Laws Continued

  • Felony Disenfranchisement  
    • According to Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Jim Crow-type laws are resulting in the incarceration of African-Americans. While blacks and whites both commit crimes, blacks are more likely to be found guilty and more likely to serve prison terms. Many of the gains of the civil rights movement have been undermined by the mass incarceration of black Americans in the war on drugs. Although Jim Crow laws are now off the books, millions of blacks arrested for minor crimes remain marginalized and disfranchised, trapped by a criminal justice system that has forever branded them as felons and denied them basic rights and opportunities that would allow them to become productive, law-abiding citizens. It is estimated that nearly 30% of the male African-American population has a felony record. Since being convicted of a felony is an automatic disenfranchisement in most states, Ms. Alexander sees this as a form of a Jim Crow law.  

Modern Forms of Jim Crow Laws Continued

  • Racial Gerrymandering  
    • Racial gerrymandering refers to defining voting districts to lessen or eliminate a minority's voting power. For example, a large community of black voters may be divided up into several districts where each district would have a majority of white voters. This practice leaves too few black voters in any one district to elect a preferred candidate. This was common practice in some states. In more recent times, racial gerrymandering has once more risen its head. The 2013 Supreme Court decision of Shelby County v Holder invalidated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that required federal approval of state election laws. Since the decision, new state laws have been passed requiring voter identification and allowing gerrymandering. These new laws can still be challenged, but only after state legislatures have passed them.  
  • Polling Place Requirements   
    • Another form of Jim Crow laws is polling place requirements such as voter identification. Before 2008, no state required voter identification to vote. By 2015, some 34 states have passed voter identification laws. It is argued that these laws suppress the vote of socially disadvantaged individuals on the lower economic scale who may not have proper identification documents.

Women's Right to Vote

A Timeline of Women's Suffrage In the United States Continued

Please click through this box for a short history of women's suffrage in the United States. In this condensed history, viewers will learn about activists such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Ida B. Wells. And their arduous fight for equal rights and pass the 19th amendment. - Timeline by Ballotpedia.org

A Timeline of Women's Suffrage In the United States Continued

1848: The Seneca Falls Convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York, on July 19 and 20, 1948. According to the National Constitution Center, the Seneca Falls Convention was the first women’s rights convention in the United States.

1850: The first of several meetings titled the National Women's Rights Convention was held in Worcester, Massachusetts, on October 23 and 24, 1850.

 

A Timeline of Women's Suffrage In the United States Continued

1866: U.S. Sen. Edgar Cowan (R-Pennsylvania) attempted to amend a voting bill to include women's suffrage, but Cowan's amendment was rejected 9-37.

1868: U.S. Sen. S.C. Pomeroy (R-Kansas) introduced a federal constitutional amendment, which did not receive a vote, that would have granted suffrage to all native or naturalized citizens. His proposal read, "The basis of suffrage in the United States shall be that of citizenship, and all native or naturalized citizens shall enjoy the same rights and privileges of the elective franchise."

1869: AERA dissolved after disagreements at the 1869 meeting, which led to the formation of two new organizations—the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the NWSA, aimed at achieving suffrage through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The AWSA aimed to win suffrage for women through the states.

1871: Victoria Woodhull became the first woman to address members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Before the Judiciary Committee, Woodhull argued that the 14th Amendment and the 15th Amendment should be interpreted as granting women the right to vote.

A Timeline of Women's Suffrage In the United States Continued

1872: Susan B. Anthony, along with several other women, cast a general election ballot in Rochester, New York, including for Ulysses Grant (R) in the presidential election. Anthony was arrested, tried, and convicted in federal court. She was fined $100 but responded, "I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty." She never paid the fine.

1874: The Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was formed in Ohio to advocate for alcohol prohibition. WCTU supported temperance and suffrage issues and petitioned Congress to pass a women's suffrage amendment.

1875: In Minor v. Happersett, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment did not provide anyone, including women, with the right to vote.

1878: U.S. Sen. Aaron Sargent (R-California) introduced a federal constitutional amendment to grant women's suffrage. The U.S. Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections rejected the proposal, which read, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

A Timeline of Women's Suffrage In the United States Continued

1882: U.S. Sen. George Hoar (R-Massachusetts) proposed a Select Committee on Woman Suffrage, which was formed on January 9, 1882. On June 5, 1882, the committee recommended that a women's suffrage amendment be adopted.

1887: The full U.S. Senate voted on a women's suffrage amendment for the first time, rejecting the proposal 16-34.

1890: The National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) merge into a single organization—the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). 

1896: The National Association of Colored Women (NACW) was formed with the goal of addressing discrimination based on gender and race, including issues related to suffrage. Mary Church Terrell was the organization's first president.

1911: The National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage (NAOWS) was formed to oppose women's suffrage. Josephine Dodge, who led an anti-suffrage organization in New York, was the national association's first leader.

A Timeline of Women's Suffrage In the United States Continued

1914: The National Federation of Women’s Clubs, which had over two million women members throughout the U.S., endorsed the suffrage movement.

1914: The full U.S. Senate voted on a women's suffrage amendment for the second time, which did not receive the two-thirds vote required to pass a constitutional amendment. The vote was 35-34.

1916: Jeannette Rankin (R) was the first woman elected to the United States Congress, representing the state of Montana in the U.S. House.

1916: Alice Paul and Lucy Burns formed the National Women’s Party (NWP), which used protesting tactics, such as picketing, marching, hunger strikes, and civil disobedience, along with lobbying.

A Timeline of Women's Suffrage In the United States Continued

1918: President Woodrow Wilson (D) endorsed the women's suffrage amendment in a speech before the U.S. Congress. He said, "We have made partners of the women in this war… Shall we admit them only to a partnership of suffering and sacrifice and toil and not to a partnership of privilege and right?"

1918: The U.S. House passed a federal suffrage amendment in a vote of 274 to 136, which was the minimum number of votes required to pass the amendment. The U.S. Senate voted 62 to 34, which was two votes short of the two-thirds requirement to pass the amendment.

1919: On May 19, 1919, Congress convened a special session to address House Joint Resolution 1 (HJR 1), which was the resolution that would become the 19th Amendment. On May 21, the U.S. House voted 304 to 89 to pass HJR 1. At least 262 votes were needed in the House. On June 4, 1919, the U.S. Senate voted 56 to 25 to pass HJR 1. At least 54 votes were needed in the Senate.

1920: On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified after 36 states, which was three-fourths of the 48 states (Alaska and Hawaii were not states until 1959), passed the resolution.[34] Summary by Ballotpedia.org 

A Latinx Voting Rights History

Please click through this box to view a history of the Latinx voting rights. 

1845-1848: Mexican-American War: Citizenship is granted to Mexicans living in Southwestern US territories, however, voting by Mexican  Americans are prevented by language literacy tests, property requirements, violence, and intimidation.  

1929: League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) LULAC is founded to advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health, and civil rights of Latino/as  

1965-1980 The Latino/a Political Power Movement Organizations thought the southwest work to increase Latino/a political power. Efforts include labor organizing and voter registration drives.  Caesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta organize field workers in California bringing national attention to Latino/a labor rights as well as Latino/a political empowerment issues.  

Chicano/a student activists align with labor and other community organizations to demand political empowerment and improved educational opportunities. Latino/as become recognized as a powerful voting block. 

 

1968: Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) is Founded Their mission is to implement programs that bring Latinos into the mainstream of American political and socio-economic life. 

1975:  Voting Rights Act of 1964 is Amended to require bilingual election materials for language minorities. State and federal ballots and supporting informational materials become available in Spanish. MALDEF and other organizations such as LULAC use the amended VRA to seek political empowerment for Latino/as. 

1976-1988: Grass Roots Political Activism takes Root in Watsonville Activists organize to improve education, health care, and housing services for local Latino/as. The Watsonville cannery strike, primarily lead by Latina women, attracts national attention, and further inspires the local Latino/as to seek political office. 

1988: Gomez v. City of Watsonville. Latino/a candidates have difficulty winning local elections despite being in the majority, seek legal help from MALDEF to challenge local at large election practices. Joaquin Avila and MALDEF attorneys, successfully argue in federal court that at large elections in Watsonville deny Latino/Latina residents political representation as defined by the VRA. Latino/as in Salinas quickly follow Watsonville’s lead and moves from at large to district elections in the city of Salinas. This landmark case sparks one of the most significant political overhauls in the state and throughout the country. As a result, many other cities in the state change their election process granting Latino/as increased political power.

2002: California Voting Rights Act In conjunction with the VRA of 1965, the California VRA strengthens and protects the rights of minority voters to prevent and correct voter discrimination. The California VRA was crafted by Joaquin Avila, while he was president and general counsel at MALDEF. 

2013: The Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 is significantly weakened by the Supreme Court In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court rules that the VRA pre-clearance clause is outdated and must be updated with new federal legislation. Congress has not yet taken action to update the VRA, and currently, it is difficult to prevent voter discrimination Since the weakening of the VRA, several states have taken steps to suppress the voting strength of minorities. These practices include targeted voter registration purges, imposing restrictive voter ID requirements, closing polling places and drawing heavily gerrymandered districts. 

2020 and Beyond Next Steps: Advocate to restore and reform the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. Advocate for laws that support consistent and fair voting standards, for all eligible citizens, in all states. Advocate to end to the practice of political gerrymandering and other practices that dilute the minority vote. Advocate reform measures that make it easier for all citizens to vote such as automatic registration, extended voting periods, and accessible polling locations. Vote! Your Vote is Your Voice! Increasing the number of citizens who vote strengthens our democracy
 

 

Voting Rights: An Asian American Perspective Timeline

Voting Rights: History, Struggle, and Perseverance

The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by human beings for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison people because they are different from others.  -Martin Luther King