Voting in America

Social Justice Learning: adult

Today's Lesson: Voting in America

Looking back on America’s first century, voting rights used to be very limited, mostly to white, land-owning, Christian men. Over time access opened to more groups of people, but even today, one’s right to vote isn’t guaranteed. Voting rights in America continue to be a moral and political issue. And while eligibility to vote is governed and protected by various state and federal laws, efforts to suppress the vote are alive and well. We understand that these conversations can be difficult, and often we aren’t sure where to start. Below you will find a sampling of resources you can dive into right now. From birth through adulthood, we believe social justice learning is a life-long journey.

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Jim Crow-era strategies

Voting location in Alabama during 2017 election
Voting location in Alabama during 2017 election, Wikimedia Commons

A type of law first created after the end of slavery to prohibit Black men from voting prevented more than 4.6 million Americans from participating in the 2022 midterm elections. Read more with this report from The Center for Public Integrity. And from automatic voter registration to eliminating runoffs, key battleground states are moving to change election laws ahead of ‘24 and the reforms could change how people vote in critical states. Read more in this report from Politico


EXTRA CREDIT: Preserving Democracy is a unique multi-platform initiative from The WNET Group covering what is perhaps the most critical national issue of our time. The initiative aims to facilitate local reporting, encourage engagement across the political spectrum and stimulate dialogue among diverse voices.



Lies, Politics and Democracy 

FRONTLINE investigates American political leaders and choices they made that have undermined and threatened democracy in the U.S. In a two-hour documentary special premiering ahead of the 2022 midterms, FRONTLINE examines how officials fed the public lies about the 2020 presidential election and embraced rhetoric that led to political violence. Watch the full documentary with the PBS Video app here.


EXTRA CREDIT: Experts discuss the extraordinary tool of accountability voting can be. But for a long time in America, that right was only available to a select group of people—and this was by design. The ability to vote was and is one of the most powerful non-violent tools citizens can use to change their everyday lives. Learn more about America's long, bitter fight for equal voting rights.



The Battle for Voting Rights

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In this episode of Fresh Air, Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, joins the show to discuss the continued battle for voting rights in this country. He talks about how lawmakers in 27 states are considering hundreds of bills designed to limit voting or undermine the integrity of the election process. This, of course, poses an ongoing threat to our democracy and fair elections. Waldman's book is The Fight to Vote.