November 6 - It is time to vote
By: Philip Maenza
Throughout history people have fought long and hard for everyone to have the right to vote. In 1776, voting was controlled by individual state legislatures and only white men age 21 and older who owned land were allowed to cast their vote. Nearly 100 years later, in 1868, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted full citizenship rights, including voting rights, to all men born or naturalized in the United States. Shortly thereafter, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution eliminated racial barriers to voting. Native Americans were still denied the right to vote. It wasn’t until 1920 that the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote nationwide. Furthermore, the Indian Citizenship Act granted Native Americans citizenship and voting rights in 1924. Sadly, it wouldn’t be until 1964 that the federal Civil Rights Act would be passed to ensure that all men and women age 21 and older, regardless of race, religion, or education, had the right to vote.
In 1971, the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution lowered the voting age to 18, thus giving a voice to the youth of the nation. By 1984, the federal Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act required polling places to be accessible to people with disabilities. In an effort to be even more inclusive, in the year 2000, the U.S. Census revealed non-English speaking population had grown large enough that some counties must translate voting materials in compliance with the 1975 Voting Rights Act.
Every vote counts. If you don’t vote for your own interests, who will? If you haven’t noticed, many people in the United States, no matter where they fall on the left-to-right spectrum, feel we’re experiencing some sort of political crisis right now, so we can pretty much guarantee that some issue or candidate you care about is going to be on the ballot this year. Democracy only works when we all participate, so just do it.