Voting Process

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The Constitution is particularly vague on the issue of voting. Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution left the establishment of voting practice procedures and who is eligible to vote up to the individual states. A provision was made for Congress to alter the voting process if necessary (Justia, 2015). As an unintended result, suffrage was initially limited to white, male property holders. The Fifteenth Amendment addresses the rights of citizens to vote in two sections. The first section states that “the right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by an state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude” (Edwards, Wattenberg, and Lineberry, 2012, p. 64). …show more content…
These rules were strictly adhered to for African Americans, but not white citizens (Justia, 2015). A grandfather clause was enacted – which allowed illiterate people the right to vote if their grandfather had been registered to vote in 1860 (Edwards et al., 2012). This of course did not apply to any emancipated slaves as they had not yet been granted the right to vote in 1860. Very short registration windows and poll taxes were more ways that voting rights were limited. Poll taxes were levied at times when African Americans had very little money due to seasonal farming income, which restricted their ability to pay for voting (Edwards et al., 2012). The Twenty-fourth Amendment, which was ratified in 1964, abolished the poll tax in federal elections. Another way African American voting was limited was the creation of laws that allowed only white people to vote in primary elections (Justia, 2015). By doing this, candidates who were eventually on the ballots were not actually representative of the voting population. Gerrymandering is also used to manipulate the racial diversity of the voting population in different districts. This is done to alter the apportionment of state legislatures to benefit one party or another (Justia, 2015). Racial gerrymandering is the practice of deliberately drawing the boundary lines of a district for racial reasons (USlegal.com). This practice …show more content…
This has been used to outlaw the previous examples of state manipulation but the biggest success in ensuring equality was the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The main point of this act was that it “prohibited any government from using voting procedures that denied a person the vote on basis of race or color and abolished the use of literacy requirements for anyone who has completed the 6th grade” (Edwards et al., 2015, p. 163). Following this Act there was a dramatic increase in the number of African Americans registered to vote. The benefits of this Act are continuing to this day, as it has allowed for a greater racial diversity in elected officials across the country (Edwards et al.,

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