Here in the States, the first Tuesday of November is election day. So many take voting for granted, others see it as a contest to pick the ‘winner’ instead of who represents your ideals best, or, in the worst case scenario, vote strict party line regardless of the candidates’ voting records. It takes all kinds to run a country, but as some of us cast our ballots, let look back and recognize that it’s taken a long time to get as far as including everyone, and we still have a ways to go.
1776- voting is limited to white, male property owners (women property owners were allowed to vote in New Jersey until 1807). In Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, free blacks were also allowed to vote. (Voting requirements are set by states, not the federal government)
1810-The last religious requirement is repeals
1848- At the end of the Mexican-American war, the US acquires territory from Mexico and allows those former Mexicans to be citizens, but states pass English only laws that prevent them from voting.
1850-Most of the states eliminate property and tax requirements, allowing voting rights for white males
1869- Wyoming Territory allows women to vote (Utah follows in 1870)
1870-15th Amendment passes giving blacks the right to vote but literacy tests and taxes prevent many from excercising their constitutional rights.
1882- Those of Chinese ancestry are prohibited from becoming US citizens.
1884-US Supreme Court declare Native Americans are not citizens as defined by the 14th amendment.
1887-Native Americans can become citizens if they give up tribal membership. Voting rights recinded for women in Utah and Washington.
1890—Indians must apply for citizenship
1919-Indians who serve in US military are eligible for citizenship
1920-19th Amendment grants women the right to vote
1922-US Supreme Court decides that those of Japanese ancestry aren’t eligible for citizenship
1924-Native Americans are granted citizenship but many states prohibit their voting
1943- Those of Chinese ancesrry are allowed to become US Citizens.
1946-Fillipinos and those peoples from India may become citizens
1952-All Asians are allowed to become citizens
1965-Literacy tests suspended by federal law in the South (and enforced with federal troops)
1970-Literacy tests banned by federal law
1975-26th Amendment lowers voting age to 18 years.
2009-Allows for absentee ballots to allow those serving overseas and ex-pats to vote.
We’ve come a long way. There are those who wish to push us backwards, but we must keep moving forward. No voice should be silenced.
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