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Path to the Vote


Voting materials are made available in various languages.

Voting materials are made available in various languages.

Amendments to the Voting Rights Act require that certain voting materials be printed in languages besides English so that people who do not read English can participate in the voting process. Photo: Courtesy of www.justice.gov


National Voter Registration Act passes.

This act intends to increase the number of eligible citizens who register to vote by making registration available at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and public assistance and disabilities agencies.


Residents of U.S. colonies are citizens but cannot vote.

A month before the presidential election, a federal court decides that Puerto Ricans living in Puerto Rico, though US citizens, cannot vote for the US president. Residents of US territories including Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands – nearly 4.1 million people in total – cannot vote in presidential elections and do not have voting representation in the US Congress.


Part of the Voting Rights Act is struck down.

The change frees nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.


Michigan voters pass Proposal 3 bringing same-day voter registration, no reason voting, and more.

Michigan voters pass Proposal 3 bringing same-day voter registration, no reason voting, and more.

Here’s what the proposal does:                                                                               Protects the right to vote a secret ballot Ensures military service members and overseas voters can obtain ballots Provides Michigan residents with the option to vote.. READ MORE


Should voting rights be taken away from felons? For how long?

The National Commission on Federal Election Reform recommends that all states allow felons to regain their right to vote after completing their criminal sentences. Nearly four million US citizens cannot vote because of past felony convictions. In most states, felons are prohibited from voting while they are in prison or on parole. In some states, especially in the South, a person with a felony conviction is forever prohibited from voting.. READ MORE


Is everyone included yet?

Should voting rights be taken away from felons?  For how long? Does every vote count equally when legislative districts are gerrymandered? Are efforts at voter suppression preventing some people from voting? Is voting information readily available? In Michigan, citizens found guilty of a felony cannot vote while in prison. Their right to vote is automatically restored upon release.  

Works Consulted

The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote. Elaine Weiss. Penguin Books, 2019. 

Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote. Susan Ware. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2019. 

Sojourner Truth’s America. Margaret Washington. University of Illinois Press, 2009. 

“Declaration of Sentiments.” Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Report of the Woman’s Rights Convention, Held at Seneca Falls, New York, July 19 and 20, 1848. Printed by John Dick, Rochester, NY, The North Star office of Frederick Douglass, 1848. 

The History of Woman Suffrage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Gage. Vol. I: 1835-1860. New York, Fowler & Wells, 1881.  

Lucretia Mott. Diary of Her Visit to Great Britain to Attend the World’s Anti-Slavery Convention of 1840. Edited by Frederick B. Tolles, supplement no. 23, Journal of the Friends’ Historical Society. Friends’ Historical Association and Friends’ Historical Society, 1952. 

Crusade for the Vote. Online exhibit and resource. National Women’s History Museum.

Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote. June 4, 2019 – Sept. 2020. The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 

Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence. March 29, 2019  January 5, 2020. National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. 

Liberty Awakes in Washtenaw County: When Women Won the Vote. Jan. 8 – Feb. 27, 2011. The Museum on Main Street, Ann Arbor, sponsored by the Ann Arbor Area League of Women Voters.

Women’s History Timeline, The Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame, Lansing, MI.

National Park Service. Women’s History Website, “19th Amendment,”, and “Suffrage in America: The 15th and 19th Amendments” series. https://www.nps.gov/subjects/womenshistory/15th-and-19th-amendments.htm

“US Voting Rights Timeline,” Northern California Citizenship Project. https://www.nps.gov/subjects/womenshistory/15th-and-19th-amendments.htm

“Who got the right to vote when? A History of Voting Rights in America” AlJezera.

Image Sources

William L. Clements Library Image Bank, University of Michigan.

Bentley Historical Library Image Bank, University of Michigan.

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.