CHAPTER 6 VOTERS AND VOTER BEHAVIOR. Ch. 6-1 The Right to Vote American Government. THE HISTORY OF VOTING RIGHTS. SUFFRAGE (aka FRANCHISE)—the right to vote EXPANSION OF THE ELECTORATE 1789-the right to vote was restricted to adult white male property owners
CHAPTER 6 VOTERS AND VOTER BEHAVIOR
Ch. 6-1 The Right to Vote
SUFFRAGE (aka FRANCHISE)—the right to vote
EXPANSION OF THE ELECTORATE
1789-the right to vote was restricted to adult white male property owners
Only about 1 in 15 adult white males could vote in elections in most States.
ELECTORATE—the potential voting population
Today the ELECTORATE in the USA is impressive
220 million people-nearly all citizens who are at least 18 can now qualify to vote
History of American suffrage since 1789 has been marked by two long-term trends
First—Gradual elimination of restrictions such as religion, property ownership, tax payment, race, and sex
Second—states’ powers over the right to vote have been assumed by the federal government
EXTENDING SUFFRAGE: THE FIVE STAGES
1) Restrictions disappeared—religious tests, property ownership, etc. No state has had a religious test for voting since 1810. By the mid-1800s, almost all adult white males could vote in every state.
2) Period following the Civil War. XVth Amendment gave people the right to vote regardless of race or color. For the next century, however, African-Americans were systematically denied the right to vote.
3) XIXth Amendment—removed the prohibition to vote based on gender (Ratified in 1920)
4) 1960s-federal legislation and court cases focused on securing the right to vote for African-Americans
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 helped guarantee racial equality
XXIIIrd Amendment gave D.C. the right to vote for President
XXIVthAmentment (1964) eliminated the poll tax and other taxes that were a condition for voting in a federal election
5) XXVIth Amendment (1971) set the minimum voting age at 18
Constitution doesn’t give the Federal government the power to set suffrage qualifications.
This matter is reserved for the states.
The Constitution does place 5 restrictions on how the states can use the power.
1) States must allow voters that vote for state legislators to vote for federal legislators also
2) No State can deprive any person the right to vote “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”.
3) No State can deprive any person the right to vote on account of sex.
4) No State can require payment of any tax as a condition for taking part in nomination or election of any federal officeholder
5) No State can deprive any person who is at least 18 years of age the right to vote.
Remember that states also cannot violate the Constitution in setting of suffrage qualifications