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Make Your Voice Heard

Election Day

November 04, 2022

Tuesday, November 8 is Election day and is the time to make your voice heard. The road to voting rights has been a long and hard fought one for many groups in America. While the Constitution allowed white male citizens over the age of 21 the right to vote, many other Americans were denied that same right. It wasn’t until 1869, with the passing of the fifteenth amendment, that African American men were given the right to vote and just a short four years later states started passing ‘grandfather clauses’ which stated that a male could not vote unless their grandfather had voted. With the passing of the first ‘grandfather clause’ in Louisiana, registered Black voters dropped from 44.8% in 1896 to just 4%. Several other southern states followed Louisiana and also passed grandfather clauses.

White women in American gained the right to vote in 1920 and, while African American women fought alongside white women during the suffrage movement, it wasn’t until 1965 and the passing of the Voting Rights Act, that all Black Americans were given the right to vote. Native Americans were not made United States citizens until 1924 and, in some states, were still not given the right to vote until the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Chinese immigrants were given U.S. citizenship in 1943 and were not given the right to vote until the Immigration and Nationality Acts of 1952 and 1965.

Tactics such as literacy tests, poll taxes and short voter registration windows were not only used in the past to limit black voters, but also as a way to keep white immigrants in states such as Massachusetts and Connecticut from the right to vote as well. Even today many states have either introduced or passed laws that restrict voter access and these laws significantly impact communities of color.

Exercise your right to vote. Review the candidates and ballot measures for your precinct and cast your ballot to have a voice in the changes happening in your area. Elections can often times bring on stress and conflict among people in your life. Some ideas to help reduce election-related stress include: limiting media and social media exposure, limit political discussions with those who may escalate the conversation, get involved in local community and civic activities and volunteerism, and, most importantly, remember that life goes on after the election.

Take Action:

For additional education and personal development related to diversity, equity and inclusion, the following resources are available: DEI Education and Resources, DEI and Antiracism Resources from the UNC Libraries, the Education Equity Toolkit from the Colorado Department of Higher Education, and the UNITE workshops for faculty, staff, and students.