Presentation on theme: "Chapter 6, Sections 1 & 2. * KEY CONCEPT: Democracy can only succeed if ALL citizens have the ability to vote… The history of the United States has been."— Presentation transcript:
* KEY CONCEPT: Democracy can only succeed if ALL citizens have the ability to vote… The history of the United States has been marked by a slow, but steady, expansion of the right to vote!
Is it in the Constitution? like “freedom of speech?” The Constitution ___________to the States the right to set suffrage requirements…
Most of us do not realize that we do not have a constitutionally protected right to vote! Something we take for granted… While there are amendments to the U.S. Constitution that prohibit discrimination based on race (15 th ), sex (19 th ) and age (26 th ), no affirmative right to vote exists.
Aside from basic constitutional requirements, qualifications for voters are left to the states… As long as qualifications do not conflict with Constitution, everything is ALRIGHT! Can/Should these people be able to vote? Felons, mentally incompetent, *minors, *non-citizens
Let’s look at who can actually vote in the United States!
“The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States...” QUESTION: Who are/have been “the people?” Since 1790, “the people” has expanded several times… through amendment and federal law
“Early 1800s” – religious (1810), property ownership and tax payment qualifications are removed… Almost all white males could vote by 1890
Benjamin Franklin on suffrage: “Today a man owns a jackass worth fifty dollars and he is entitled to vote; but before the next election the jackass dies. The man in the meantime has become more experienced, his knowledge of the principles of government, and his acquaintance with mankind, are more extensive, and he is therefore better qualified to make a proper selection of rulers — but the jackass is dead and the man cannot vote. Now gentlemen, pray inform me, in whom is the right of suffrage? In the man or in the jackass?”
“Post Civil War” – 1870 The 15 th Amendment is passed. It gives former slaves the right to vote and protects the voting rights of adult male citizens of any race (BUT…) *Before Civil War, Constitution does not provide protections for voting! Strictly a state issue…
“1920s” – 1920 The 19 th Amendment is ratified. guarantees woman's suffrage. 1924 Indian Citizenship Act grants all Native Americans the rights of citizenship (BUT…)
“Civil Rights Era” – 1957 The first law to implement the 15 th amendment, the Civil Rights Act, is passed. 1961 The 23 rd Amendment is ratified. allows voters of the District of Columbia to participate in presidential elections. 1964 The 24 th Amendment is ratified. bans the poll tax as a requirement for voting in federal elections. 1965 The Voting Rights Act protects the rights of minority voters and eliminates voting barriers such as the literacy test. The Act is expanded and renewed in 1970, 1975, and 1982.
“Post Vietnam Era” – 1971 The 26 th Amendment is ratified. sets the *minimum voting age at 18.
Approx. = 218,000,000 eligible voters… 70% of the population!
All states have three universal types of requirements to be eligible to vote…
Citizenship State by state basis … Nothing in the Constitution that denies aliens the right to vote, BUT… A state could very well could allow aliens to vote! Minnesota – citizen for 3 months Pennsylvania – citizen for 1 month
Residency Similar to citizenship… No state has longer than a 30 day residency requirement; Several states have no residency requirements, only registration… Ohio – 30 day residency and registration Alabama and Iowa – 10 day residency requirement
Age 1971, 26 th Amendment – Georgia, 1943 States could set the voting age lower! (but they haven’t)