IS VOTER SUPPRESSION REAL?
Aiden is the youngest volunteer in his local Congressperson’s re-election campaign, so he’s super excited about the class discussion on the 15th Amendment. This amendment, which was ratified in 1870, guaranteed Black men the right to vote. But in reality, Black men still faced all kinds of hurdles to voting. Some states required voters to take a test or pay taxes — rules that unfairly punished Black people the most. And this was still 50 years before women would even have the right to vote!
Lately, Aiden’s been hearing about That’s when someone – usually a politician or political party – tries to prevent certain groups of people from voting even when they are eligible to vote. Now Aiden realizes that voter suppression is exactly what was happening after the 15th Amendment passed!
Politicians or political parties might be tempted to use voter suppression tactics because they believe that certain voters are likely to vote against them. They might change the border lines around a district or require people to bring identification to the polls. Other times, laws are put into place that make it harder for people who have fewer resources to vote.
Aiden knows there are people who don’t believe that people are being prevented from voting. Aiden isn’t sure what he believes, but on his first volunteer day, he is assigned to help with a voter registration drive. All day long, Aiden and the other campaign workers help people fill out forms that will allow them to vote. Aiden is curious and wonders why so many people needed help to register. Is that another way votes are suppressed?
Investigate the primary sources to learn about groups that have had to fight for their right to vote. Is there evidence to show that they had to fight against voter suppression once they’d achieved the right to vote? Make your case.
Have your students take this challenge and make their case! To begin, send your students to this website with this challenge’s code.
Voter suppression is when someone - usually a politician or political party - tries to prevent certain groups of people from voting even when they should be eligible to vote.