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.
In this episode of “History Talk,” hosts Lauren Henry and Eric Michael Rhodes speak with two experts on voter disenfranchisement in the US — 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.
*[This podcast is produced by Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective.]
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