Defining Documents in American History: Voters' Rights

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As more and more voters take to the polls to register their support for one candidate or another, or one cause or another, voting rights have come into the spotlight. Popular methods of registering to vote and casting one’s ballot, whether through mail-in or in-person, have been subject to increased scrutiny by those opposed to such common practices in an open democracy. Allegations of voter fraud have been widespread in recent years, even causing a riot in the Capitol in January 2021; and yet proof of such activities remains elusive and has given rise to numerous conspiracy theories. Other controversial issues surrounding voting and voting rights include the way voting districts are drawn by partisan state legislatures, how and by whom political campaigns are financed, what forms of ID should be required when voting, and whether minority voters should be afforded special protections under the law to ensure fair and equal elections.

These and other key topics in the long history of voter rights in the United States are taken up in the present volume. The book ranges from the Founding Era to the present, and examines Constitutional Amendments regarding the vote, the historical struggle for women’s suffrage, heated battles during the Civil Rights Era concerning ballot access and community representation, the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark rulings on voting and elections, and various legislative acts aimed at ensuring a full and accurate vote by all Americans participating in this defining act of democracy.

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