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Voter Suppression, Deviance and Control

Voter suppression is an effort whether legal or illegal, through laws, administrative rules that prevent voters from registering to vote or from voting. Usually people of color, women, low-income, disabled, etc. are affected by voter suppression.

Voter suppression has been present in our country for so many years. Before laws were made, African Americans and women were not able to vote. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed. The right to vote was given to only those who owned land. This limited the vote to only white males. In 1787, the Constitution adopted this law to say that states could decide who can vote and not vote. This didn’t do much, voting remained a privilege for white male landowners. And in 1790, the Naturalization Law was passed. This law said that to be able to vote you needed to be a citizen and only free white immigrants can become naturalized citizens.

This all changed when the U.S. Constitution passed the 14th amendment. This was life changing for African Americans finally being able to vote. It granted former slaves the right to vote. However, it only applied to males. It wasn’t until 1920 that women were granted the right to vote. It took 92 years for African American males to vote and it took 144 years for women (white and African American) to vote. In 1947, barrier for Native Americans to vote were removed. Throughout history many minorities have been affected by voter suppression but even after those laws were passed, minorities have had a hard time voting.

A modern example of voter suppression can be seen through the voting rates. Voting rates are lower in the working class, lower-educated individuals, and minorities. This shows that people with more resources and access have the means to show up and vote. There has been an issue especially with African American communities. You see African American communities have lines out the door. Those communities are often worse off in voting because the voting booths are not necessarily near where they live so they need to travel far to come and vote. Some people do not feel like their voice is so important to travel far to vote. I think we will see a huge change in voting for this election especially after such unrest and the Black Lives Matter Movement. People who have never voted or do not often vote will come out and vote. Additionally, it is easier to vote this year due to mail-in ballots.

Voter suppression is seen as a form for social control. In 1776, white males dominated politics while African Americans were in slavery and women didn’t have a voice. Society was controlling the votes so that slavery could continue and so that they could stay in control of society. Minorities and women were looked at as deviant to society. African Americans were treated like garbage, they were not considered a person. They were considered deviant because of their skin color. Women were not thought of as smart or citizens that could have a say in society and them too were considered deviant.

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