It was a long and hard-fought path to the “Rock the Vote” campaigns and dismal voter turnout of recent years.
In the early days of our country, voting really was a privilege, one reserved for property-owning or tax-paying white men over the age of 21.
In the 1790s, the Naturalization Act gave men born outside the U.S. who became citizens the right to vote, and various states started dropping the property requirement.
In 1870, the 15th Amendment gave nonwhite men and freed male slaves the right to vote, although several states continued to suppress this group of voters.
Native American men were granted citizenship in 1887, giving them the right to vote, but only if they would disassociate themselves from their tribes.
It was 1920 before the 19th Amendment passed, giving women the right to vote. By 1924, Native Americans, regardless of tribal affiliation, won the right to vote.
It was 1943 before the Magnuson Act granted Chinese immigrants a voice in American politics.
In 1964, the 24th Amendment declared voting cannot be denied “by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax” for federal elections.
It wasn’t until 1965 that the Voting Rights Act guaranteed protection of voter registration and voting for racial minorities.
In 1971, thanks to the 26th Amendment, the voting age changed from 21 to 18.
Today, the voting requirements are:
• Be a U.S. citizen
• Be at least 18 years of age
• Reside in the county and election district in which he or she presents to vote
• Not be serving an active sentence for a felony conviction
In just over a week, on Sept. 21, onestop voting begins for the Fayetteville primary election. It includes candidates vying for mayoral and city council/commissioner/alderman positions. Voting ends Oct. 10. One-stop voting starts for the municipal winners Oct. 19 and ends Nov. 7.
Find out more about local candidates and voting policies at www. co.cumberland.nc.us/election_board/ voter_info/guide.aspx#.
Also, we are proud to debut our Hope Mills News & Views section in this week’s paper. Check it out on pages 22 and 23. Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.