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From Poll Taxes to Partisan Gerrymandering: Voter Disenfranchisement in the United States


Voting is perhaps the most fundamental act of democratic citizenship. In a democracy, our political leaders receive their mandate, and the system itself derives its legitimacy, from the people who elect them. In the United States, however, the right to vote has never been extended universally. Although the franchise has expanded to include many more citizens since 1776, these gains have come haltingly and unevenly. Even as women gained suffrage, African Americans were kept from the polls in many parts of the country for decades. And elected officials have long meddled with district boundaries to choose their constituents, rather than the other way around.

This month, hosts Lauren Henry and Eric Michael Rhodes speak with two experts on voter disenfranchisement in the United States—Professors Daniel P. Tokaji and Pippa Holloway—to consider the past and present of voting rights. How does historical voter suppression continue to affect electoral outcomes today? Listen in to find out.

African American woman holding a sign that reads Stop Voter Suppression

To learn more about the history of voting, check out these Origins features: A History of Stolen CitizenshipRe-mapping American Politics: The Redistricting Revolution Fifty Years Later

(Image Source)

-Posted July 2019

[A transcript of this podcast is available here.]