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Voting Resources

The Fight for The Right to Vote

 

1776 The New Jersey Constitution grants voting rights to all inhabitants, including women. 
1789 The First Presidential election. Voters must be white male landowners over the age of 21. States were given the power to regulate their own voting laws and in some states, Catholics, Jews, and Quakers were barred from voting.
1790 The Naturalization law is passed. Only free, white immigrants can become citizens.  
1792 New Hampshire became the first state to drop the landowner requirement for voters.  
1807 New Jersey passes a law barring women from the polls.
1821 New York amended its constitution to require black voters to own property worth such a high amount that it effectively banned them from the polls.
1828 Maryland allows Jews to vote.  
1868 The 14th Amendment is passed. Citizenship is defined and granted to former slaves. 
1870 The 15th Amendment is passed. The right to vote is guaranteed to all men, regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. However, states began enacting voting taxes and literacy tests that restricted African Americans from being able to vote. In March of that year, Thomas Mundy Peterson becomes the first African American to vote in a local election.
1872 Women's Suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony attempts to vote in the presidential election and is arrested. Sojourner Truth, an abolitionist, women's rights activist, and former slave, also demands a ballot for the election, but is turned away. 
1876 The Supreme Court rules that Native Americans are not citizens and thus cannot vote.
1882 The Chinese Exclusion Act is passed. Chinese immigrants are prevented from becoming citizens, blocking them from the vote.
1887 The Daws Act is passed and grants citizenship to Native Americans who give up their tribal affiliations. 
1890 Wyoming becomes the first state to legislate voting for women in its constitution. The Indian Naturalization Act is passed, grants citizenship to Native Americans whose applications are approved. 
1908 The first unofficial women's suffrage march occurs in New York City.
1913 The women’s suffrage parade in Washington, DC is the first major event organized by the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
1919 Native Americans who served in the military in WWI are granted citizenship.
1920 The 19th Amendment is passed, granting women the right to vote. However, this right remained primarily reserved for white women.
1922 The Supreme Court rules that people of Japanese heritage are ineligible to become naturalized citizens.
1923 The Supreme Court rules that Asian Indians are ineligible to become naturalized citizens.
1924 The Indian Citizenship Act grants citizenship to Native Americans. Many states pass laws and policies prohibiting Native Americans from voting.
1925 Filipinos are barred from US citizenship unless they have served 3 years in the Navy.
1952 The  McCarran-Walter Act grants all people of Asian ancestry the right to become citizens, effectively granting them the right to vote.
1961 The 23rd Amendment is passed. Residents of Washington DC are granted the right to vote for US President.
1964 It is ruled that the right to vote in federal elections will not be denied for failure to pay any tax.
1965 The Voting Rights Act is passed. Forbids states from imposing discriminatory restrictions on who can vote.
1971 The 26th Amendment is passed and the voting age is lowered to 18.
1975 Voting materials are translated for the first time into other languages for people who do not read English.

 

See our Additional Resources page for references and attributions