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Top 10 Ways Voting Has Been Suppressed In The US

In the US, voting makes it possible for ordinary citizens to decide who will lead and represent them in their government. As such, it’s one of the most protected and assaulted rights in the nation.

Many times, people with political and economic agendas have suppressed others’ right to vote. Although the problem appeared to have subsided over time, recent laws show that voter suppression is alive and well in the United States.

See Also:10 Times A Single Vote Changed Everything

10Gallatin County Election Day Battle

From 1789 until 1870,in general, only white men were allowed to vote in the US, which made voter suppression thelawof the land. (Yes, we know there were limited exceptions for women and free African Americans.)

But even for white men, efforts to suppress some voters existed during that time. The most notable was the 1838 Gallatin County Election Day Battle. The conflict arose in Missouri over an election to choose a state representative.

Before the election, candidate William Peniston made a statement to Daviess County residents about the local Mormons. According to Peniston, if Missourians “suffer such men as these [Mormons] to vote, you will soon lose your suffrage.”

On Election Day, around 200 non-Mormons showed up in Gallatin to stop Mormons from voting. When a group of 30 Mormons arrived at the polling station, Dick Weldon, one of the men who wanted to stop them, said Mormons couldn’t vote in Clay County. Mormon Samuel Brown insisted otherwise, and a fight broke out between the two groups.

Reports of this incident suggested that casualties occurred on both sides, but the accounts proved false following an investigation by the Mormon Church.[1]

9The 15th Amendment

照片来源: Alfred Waud

The 15th Amendment to the US Constitution kept states from denying the right to vote on the grounds of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” This gave former slaves the right to vote. However, the 15th Amendment also limited this right by what it didn’t say. Specifically, the amendment didn’t address any limitations that states could impose on those rights.[2]

The lack of restrictions gave rise to Jim Crow laws, which came in the form of literacy tests, poll taxes, and other restrictions. These rules were made into law, and the southern states wrote many of them into their new constitutions. As states could still regulate their elections, the US Supreme Court upheld these discriminatory voting laws well into the 20th century.

8New State Constitutions Cut Black Voters


Between 1890 and 1910, 10 of the 11 formerConfederate Statesvoted out of office all the black representatives elected during Reconstruction. This was done through voter suppression, and the numbers of disenfranchised black voters were staggering.

During that time period, Louisiana reduced black voters by the tens of thousands down to only 730, which accounted for less than 0.5 percent of eligible black voters. A literacy test was commonly used to exclude these men.

Most newly freed slaves were illiterate, so they couldn’t pass the test. However, even literate men failed due to the way the tests were written. One exam from Louisiana asked questions such as “draw a line around the number or letter of this sentence” and “spell backwards, forwards.”

The questions were written so that almost nobody could pass them. But if someone did manage to answer the questions correctly, a registrar (white man) made the final decision. In most states, that meant no black people could vote.[3]

7The 19th Amendment


The most disenfranchised people in the US have always been women. In many areas of the US, women were not allowed to vote in federalelectionsfrom 1789 until 1920, when the 19th Amendment was passed.

怀俄明州是最显着的例外,因为国家有19个修正案通过之前给予完全的投票权,以妇女半个多世纪。 Before Wyoming joined the Union in 1890, the legislature of the territory was firm in a telegram to Congress: “We will remain out of the Union one hundred years rather than come in without the women [having the right to vote].”

对于大多数女性在美国,投票权通过19条修正案获得批准。 However, challenges remained for most women of color due to Jim Crow laws. Other women faced hurdles regarding their ethnicity or citizenship. Women who immigrated to the US weren’t always allowed to become citizens, and that was required for all voters in America.[4]



在美国,投票权在联邦选举中的唯一的人是国家的citizens,但取得公民资格是不容易了很多人。 There’s a serious problem with citizenship in the 21st century.

在过去,国籍感到特别难以得到某些群体,包括来自中国的任何人。 Chinese immigrants didn’t receive the right to apply for citizenship until 1943. Except under certain conditions, Native Americans were also denied voting rights until 1924.

道斯法案于1887年通过后,土著美国人被允许投票。 However, they were required to leave their tribes, which many weren’t willing to do. The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 overturned the Dawes Act. As a result, any Native Americans who wanted to vote could do so while remaining members of their tribes.[5]


照片来源: Daniel Schwen

政客常说的US Constitution是一个完美的文档。 But it was far from perfect, and the Framers knew it. That’s why it can be changed, and this enabled their successors to fix unforeseen problems.

与华盛顿特区一个这样的问题。 The Constitution didn’t allow districts or territories to have members of the Electoral College. This wasn’t an immediate problem in the early 1800s because DC had less than 30,000 residents at the time.

然而,这意味着任何人谁在联邦选举是居民DC-不分性别或种族couldn't取一部分。 It became an increasing problem as time went on.



照片来源: Yoichi Okamoto


它扩展这些权利少数民族语言,从而有可能为谁不说英语的公民投票与其他人。 The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a huge step forward, but it might not have been possible without the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

民权法案要求选民登记规则同样适用于所有种族的美国公民。 However, it did allow jurisdictions to “qualify” voters in unfair ways. To combat this, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 forced individual states to stop using literacy tests and similar requirements to deny US citizens their voting rights.[7]



在21世纪,努力阻止人们投票继续进行。 These ploys were often directed against groups who had previously fought to obtain full voting rights. For example, in the 2002 New HampshireSenate选举中,在该州民主党组可供人乘坐到的民调程序谁也走不出来投票选举日。 These voters are often poor people of color.

共和党官员支付推销员打电话,挂在选举日一开始出的票电话线。 For approximately 90 minutes, this tied up the lines and made it impossible for the Democrats to call potential voters and offer them rides to the polls.

2004年,美国的选民外展收集了数以千计的选民登记卡,但抛出了民主党的人。 Some Democrats who showed up on Election Day expecting to cast a ballot weren’t able to vote. At the time, Michigan’s Republican state legislator John Pappageorge said, “If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we’re going to have a tough time in this election.”[8]共和党人否认事件的这个版本。

2006年,民主党候选人乔四名员工hn Kerry were convicted of slashing the tires of 25 vans that the Republican Party had intended to use for their ride-to-the-polls program. At the trial, the judge told the defendants, “Voter suppression has no place in our country. Your crime took away that right to vote for some citizens.”

2Part Of The Voting Rights Act Is Ruled Unconstitutional


Even a law like the Voting Rights Act of 1965 can run afoul of theSupreme Courtsooner or later. In 2013, the Justices ruled that Section 4(b) of the Act was unconstitutional.[9]

That section dealt with the prohibitions intended to suppress the minority vote via a coverage formula. Essentially, the Act required jurisdictions that had historically suppressed voting to be under greater scrutiny. This made it impossible to reenact the types of laws that had made the Act necessary in the first place.

By repealing parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, states could suddenly change their voting rules in ways that were once prohibited. However, those changes had to be cleared through the US Attorney General or a panel of three judges. But an old idiom describes what happened almost immediately, “Give a man enough rope, and he will hang himself.”

The fight against voter suppression was back on and very much real in the 21st century.

1Gerrymandering And Identification Requirements

Shortly after the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, states began changing their election rules. This was done in a number of ways, but the most significant were gerrymandering and identification requirements. Both targeted poor people and minorities who were largely Democrats.

Gerrymanderinghas long been a problem in the country. Although both parties are guilty of it, the recent wave of gerrymandering across the United States has largely been done by the Republicans to steal districts from their opponents.

Another new series of rules requires specific types of identification that some minorities lack. This can include a valid driver’s license, which a person might not have if he or she doesn’t drive. Other changes have made it hard to vote if a name on one form of identification doesn’t match that on another. This can happen for a woman whose maiden name differs on her birth certificate and her state ID.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 15 percent of Americans who earn less than $35,000 don’t have a government-issued photo ID, making them unable to vote in some elections. Other changes stop registration on Election Day or cut early voting time periods.[10]

About The Author:Jonathan is agraphic artist,illustrator, andwriter. He is a Retired Soldier and enjoys researching and writing about history, science, theology, and many other subjects.

Jonathan H. Kantor

Jonathan is a graphic artist, illustrator, and writer. He is a Retired Soldier and enjoys researching and writing about history, science, theology, and many other subjects.