I am a woman citizen. I can not vote. 1920 - Present

Black Women 1920
1922 poll tax receipt showing that Odell McElrath paid his poll tax in Cabarrus County, North Carolina.

1922 poll tax receipt showing that Odell McElrath paid his poll tax in Cabarrus County, North Carolina.

Could you pass this literacy test meant to disenfranchise Black voters?

Civil rights march on Washington, D.C.

Civil Rights protestors march on Washington to demand equality. One major issue was access to the vote without restrictions or fear of violence.

Women's Voting Rights Illustrations

Illustration provided with permission from Meaghan Elderkin Illustrations.

Native-born Asian Americans already had U.S. citizenship in 1920 when the Nineteenth Amendment, but first  generation Asian Americans did not. Until 1952, federal policy barred immigrants of Asian descent from becoming U.S. citizens and having access to the vote. Asian American immigrant women were therefore excluded from voting until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 allowed them to gain citizenship more than three decades after the 19th Amendment.

Women's Voting Rights Illustrations

Illustration provided with permission from Meaghan Elderkin Illustrations.

The Snyder Act of 1924 admitted Native Americans born in the U.S. to full citizenship in the United States. Though the Fifteenth Amendment, passed in 1870, stated that one could not be deprived the right to vote on the basis of race, Native Americans continued to be excluded from citizenship after the Supreme Court ruled that Native Americans are not citizens as defined by the Fourteenth Amendment. In 1877, the Dawes Act passed granted citizenship to Native Americans who give up their tribal affiliations. It was not until the passage of the Snyder Act in 1924, that American-born Native men and  women gained citizenship. But until as late as 1962, individual states still prevented them from voting on contrived grounds, such as literacy tests, poll taxes and claims that residence on a reservation meant one wasn’t also a resident of that state.

Women's Voting Rights Illustrations

Illustration provided with permission from Meaghan Elderkin Illustrations.

In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Right Act prohibiting racial discrimination in voting and giving Black men and women widespread access to the ballot. 

The Fall of the VRA and Voter Disenfranchisement Today

The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 to ensure state and local governments do not pass laws or policies that deny American citizens the equal right to vote based on race. However, within the past decade, the Supreme Court removed a key provision of the 1965 VRA in Shelby County v. Holder (2013) that had ensured federal government oversight of changes to voting systems in states with a history of discriminating against minority voters to ensure that any changes would not harm minority voters. Since then, 41 states have introduced legislation that have placed voting restrictions on citizens. Today, voter suppression tactics, including purging voter rolls, the disenfranchisement of felons, gerrymandering, imposing strict voter identification laws, limiting the number of polling locations and cutting voting times, effectively deny countless Americans the right to vote. Using false rhetoric of “widespread voter fraud,” these laws have effectively disenfranchised millions of people. These suppression tactics disproportionately affect minority voters, impoverished voters, and the elderly.

I am a woman citizen. I can not vote. 1920 - Present