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Voting Rights and Participation
Professor Neil Kraus
Voting Rights and Participation The right to vote in the United States was a huge movement when it came to Women and African Americans. By the year 1965, progress with the movement had been made, but in the south it was a different story altogether. Marches went on as far south as Alabama, which did get the attention of the federal government. With the passing of this Act (Voting Rights Act) in 1965, history was made in the United States that allowed the government to step in and outlaw discriminatory voting practices to women and African Americans. This Act was for the widespread prevention of the African Americans to vote. Even women had their own issues with being allowed to vote. The voting Act also ensured that any United States citizen who reach the age of 18 years old would not be denied the right to vote, regardless of their race, their religious beliefs, disabilities, or sexual preferences (Patterson, 2013). There was still a continual struggle for equality among the African American people. This is why the Voting Rights Act and Martin Luther King Jr. set the stage for all African Americans to be treated equal. This type of equality allows more and more people go to the polls and vote for what they believe in, which in turn helps out voter participation and allows for everyone’s voice to be heard. The challenges that are faced today regarding the Voting Rights Act has to do with civil rights activists. They have struggled for a very long time to have the Federal Government take some kind of action to ensure that African Americans had equal rights to be able to exercise their right to vote. There have been more complications that many people feel threatened regarding the successes of the civil rights movement that is becoming known as a thing of the past. There are many states that have new restrictions regarding voter fraud. These new restrictions that were adopted actually threaten the voting rights of African Americans and Latinos, as well as young voters (18 years, the age of voting was lowered in the late 60”s, during the time of the Vietnam War) and the low-income group of people. Voter turnout was markedly increase with the passing of the Voting Rights Act, even though discrimination is still active in the polls, even today. But, in the past few years the turnout has drops a few points, but they are likely to increase in the future, since it is easier to register to vote today than it has been in the past. Usually with the Presidential elections there is a slight increase, but in the off years, the voting seems to drop off somewhat. The case of Shelby County vs Holder, is a case of the U. S. Supreme Court regarding two of the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, section 5 and section 4(b) which found that it was illegal for a state to refuse a person to vote because of race, color, or membership in a minority group to vote (Dunkley (2013). Women have made substantial progress regarding voting. The women’s suffrage movement began during the reconstruction era. Susan B. Anthony drafted the Nineteenth Amendment guaranteeing all American Women the right to vote. Since that time women had excelled in many areas in elective offices. Women are now Supreme Court Judges, Senators and Representatives, and are working their way to the Presidential seat of the White House. More women work a job now than even before and have not been able to achieve job equality yet. Voter participation has become a very hot topic where voters are concerned. You can now choose to vote in person, by mail or even online. The votes are always counted no matter which way a voter chooses to use. The voting process has become so much more voter friendly to allow the elderly and the disabled more chances to vote in the world today.