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SUFFRAGE IN THE UNITED STATES Why is suffrage expansion controversial? How has the First Amendment helped suffrage advocates?

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Presentation on theme: "SUFFRAGE IN THE UNITED STATES Why is suffrage expansion controversial? How has the First Amendment helped suffrage advocates?"— Presentation transcript:

1 SUFFRAGE IN THE UNITED STATES Why is suffrage expansion controversial? How has the First Amendment helped suffrage advocates?

2 SUFFRAGE From Latin “suffragiam” meaning “voting tablet” From Latin “suffragiam” meaning “voting tablet” “The right or privilege of voting” “The right or privilege of voting” Synonym = franchise (ownership) Synonym = franchise (ownership)

3 Views of suffrage If ownership of political community = Right If a grant from government to participate = Privilege If obligation associated with citizenship = Duty

4 Why is suffrage important? right duty privilege

5 Suffrage precious to those denied it

6 Citizenship and suffrage not resolved at Constitutional Convention States left with power to decide right to vote

7 The Constitution and suffrage “...the Constitution of the United States does not confer the right of suffrage upon any one..” Chief Justice Morrison Waite, Minor v. Happersett (1874)

8 Fourteenth Amendment Resolves citizenship Resolves citizenship §2: Consequences for discrimination against males age 21 §2: Consequences for discrimination against males age 21 Equal protection clause = basis for voting discrimination litigation Equal protection clause = basis for voting discrimination litigation Districting/gerrymandering Districting/gerrymandering Substantial burdens on “classes” Substantial burdens on “classes”

9 But...states may not discriminate in voting based on... Race (15 th Amendment) Race (15 th Amendment) Gender (19 th Amendment) Gender (19 th Amendment) Age (26 th Amendment) Age (26 th Amendment) Failure to pay poll tax (federal election) (24 th Amendment) Failure to pay poll tax (federal election) (24 th Amendment)

10 Judicial views: “Though not regarded strictly as a natural right, but as a privilege merely conceded by society according to its will, under certain conditions, nevertheless it is regarded as a fundamental political right, because preservative of all rights.” Justice Stanley Matthews, Yick Wo v. Hopkins.1885

11 “The right to vote freely for the candidate of one's choice is of the essence of a democratic society.” Reynolds v. Sims,1964 Reynolds v. Sims,1964

12 “If everybody...has an opportunity to...share in electing representatives who will be truly representative of the entire community...then most of these problems we are now confronted with would be solved through the political process...” Former Chief Justice Earl Warren, 6/27/69

13 Congress Voting Rights Act 1965 (extended 2006) Enforcement of 15 th Amendment Ended literacy tests Ended literacy tests Gave Attorney General broad Gave Attorney General broad authority to enforce/supervise authority to enforce/supervise

14 Proposed Constitutional amendments : Repeal 26 th A. and replace with 16-year-old vote : Repeal 26 th A. and replace with 16-year-old vote : Popular vote to enable and repeal laws : Popular vote to enable and repeal laws : Right of citizens to vote at 18, subject to narrow state regulations : Right of citizens to vote at 18, subject to narrow state regulations

15 ACTIVITY In groups, fill out as much of the work sheet as you can (or choose to) In groups, fill out as much of the work sheet as you can (or choose to) Prepare to discuss responses Prepare to discuss responses

16 Conclusions... Suffrage a political issue Suffrage a political issue Intertwined with American federalism Intertwined with American federalism Small “c” versus big “C” Constitution Small “c” versus big “C” Constitution


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