Voter Suppression: A Concern for All of Us

4 min read

| By Traci Cothran |

You cannot be a student of history and fail to see that the voter suppression tactics used over the last 100 years are being re-weaponized in current elections. It is, quite simply, frightening to see this attack on a basic tenet of our democracy. These efforts at silencing American voices have been used by both the Democratic and Republican parties at different times to consolidate power. No one who believes in the longevity of this free republic should approve of unfair tactics; and elected officials should be the last people employing them. Here’s a look at voter suppression tactics practiced yesterday and today. 

Voter Suppression, from 1776 through Reconstruction and Jim Crow Era:

  • Literacy tests. SeeLiteracy Test,” Gale In Context: High School.
  • Land requirements. SeeVoting,” Gale In Context: High School.
  • Legislating that Indigenous people, people of Chinese descent, and people of Asian descent are ineligible to become citizens and thus denying them suffrage

Voter Suppression, Modern Tactics:

  • Rescinding the requirement from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 of federal oversight before certain states or municipalities (with histories of voter suppression) can change voting laws. SeeAfter Ruling, States Rush to Enact Voting Laws,” Gale In Context: High School.

I’m sorry to say there’s much more, from spreading disinformation about the security of voting by mail to talk of intimidation at polling places. If we are paying attention, we can learn from history how democracies fail. Ensuring we have free and democratic elections is a key way to preserve the nation we all care about so much.

Offer researchers more voter suppression information, request a trial to our Gale In Context student databases today!

Traci J. Cothran

Meet the Author

Traci Cothran is the director of Gale’s K12 content team as well as a history buff, so she can often be found watching videos from the early 1900s in Gale In Context: World History.  

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