The Voting Rights Act of 1965 offered African Americans a way to get around the barriers at the state and local levels that had prevented them from exercising their 15th Amendment right to vote. After it was signed into law by LBJ, Congress amended it five more times to expand its scope and offer more protections.
Voting Rights Act Signed into Law After debating the bill for more than a month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 333-85 on July 9. In 1964, the 24th Amendment made poll taxes illegal in federal elections; poll taxes in state elections were banned in 1966 by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Congress revisited the Act in 1975, the year that the Act’s special provisions were again set to expire. Furthermore, Congress made permanent the nationwide prohibition on tests or devices. The 1975 amendments also expanded voting rights for minority groups that traditionally had fallen outside the Act’s protections.
15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Voting Rights (1870) Citation: The House Joint Resolution proposing the 15th amendment to the Constitution, December 7, 1868; Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789-1999; General Records of the United States Government; Record Group 11; National Archives.
It contained extensive measures to dismantle Jim Crow segregation and combat racial discrimination. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 removed barriers to black enfranchisement in the South, banning poll taxes, literacy tests, and other measures that effectively prevented African Americans from voting.
The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 establishes a targeted process for reviewing voting changes in jurisdictions nationwide, focused on measures that have historically been used to discriminate against voters.
The 1828 presidential election was the first in which non-property-holding white males could vote in the vast majority of states. By the end of the 1820s, attitudes and state laws had shifted in favor of universal white male suffrage.
Throughout the 19th century, black women like Harriet Forten Purvis, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper worked on black civil rights, like the right to vote. Black women had to fight for racial equality, as well as women’s rights.
On June 10, a coalition of 27 Republicans and 44 Democrats ended the filibuster when the Senate voted 71 to 29 for cloture, thereby limiting further debate. This marked the first time in its history that the Senate voted to end debate on a civil rights bill.
On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson came to the Capitol to sign the Voting Rights Act.
On June 22, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed an extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that required the voting age to be 18 in all federal, state, and local elections.
The Fourteenth Amendment achieved neither form of civil rights, because de facto equality requires an effort by the society as a whole, whereas de jure equality only requires an effort by the people in power in the courts and the legislation.
The Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution (Amendment XXVI) lowered the minimum voting age in the United States from 21 to 18. The United States Congress approved the amendment on March 23, 1971, and sent it to the states to be ratified.