11.03.2009

Why Vote?

Today, across our great nation, is Voting Day! I encourage you (if you're eligible) to go out and exercise your right as American. We didn't always have the privilege of voting, and some here (just ask anyone under the age of 18 or non-citizens) still don't!

Here are some important dates in the history of voting, thanks to the City University of New York:
JULY 2, 1776
The New Jersey state constitution allows “all inhabitants . . . who are worth fifty pounds” to vote, including women and people of color. In 1807 the requirement is rewritten to specify only white men.

DECEMBER 3, 1800
Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tie for president in the Electoral College. With no provisions existing for this situation, the House of Representatives votes for the president, electing Jefferson on February 17, 1801.

FEBRUARY 3, 1870
The Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, declaring that citizens cannot be denied the right to vote based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

JULY 10, 1890
Wyoming becomes the first state to grant women full suffrage rights.

APRIL 12, 1892
The Meyers Voting Machine, the first mechanical-lever voting machine, is introduced in elections at Lockport, New York. The machine was designed to prevent voter fraud.

NOVEMBER 6, 1917
North Dakota, Ohio, Indiana, Rhode Island, Nebraska, Michigan, New York, and Arkansas all grant women suffrage.

AUGUST 19, 1920
The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing suffrage for women.

MARCH 29, 1961
The Twenty-third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, granting Washington, D. C. residents the right to vote in U.S. Presidential elections for the first time.

JANUARY 23, 1964
The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, ensuring that the right to vote in all federal elections cannot be taken away by the United States or any states due to failure to pay any poll or other tax.

MARCH 23, 1971
The Twenty-sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives 18-20 year-olds the right to vote.

MAY 19, 1975
The New York State Legislature approves a bill that allows voter registration by mail.

JULY 26, 1990
Americans with Disabilities Act requires full access to voting facilities for the disabled.
Summary: at different times throughout history, you could have been prevented from voting for any number of reasons - your race, gender, location, disability, past work, failure to pay taxes, failure to own land, or failure to be "worth enough" to count.

We live in a much freer and more fair time with regards to voting, and it has taken years and the efforts of thousands of people and the act of voting itself to get here.

We're not done, America. Use your voting voice to add more revolutions to this timeline!

1 comment:

  1. You know you're my hero, right? Now go vote! :)

    ReplyDelete