A Trip Down Memory Lane

ChristianRonzoni, Staff Reporter

 

Everyone goes through the same dilemma every 4 years, voting for the next president of the United States. People are either too busy to vote or just don’t want to, but nobody stops to think what a privilege and journey it’s been to have the right to vote. Although there is a lot that needs to change with our current voting system. It’s far too outdated and in some cases downright unfair.

Being one of the most important events we, as a country, take part of nobody actually thinks of how voting originated. We all know the Founding Fathers created our very voting system and had everyone be able to vote. But, that wasn’t the case, if you didn’t own land or you were a woman you couldn’t vote at all. When the Founding Fathers created our democracy, they gave the vote to just 6% of the population at the time. And it took a long time to change that. It took almost 70 years before the right to vote was even extended to all white men. The 14th Amendment was passed to give all citizens the right to vote, but former slaves weren’t allowed to vote due to the Jim Crow laws. It wasn’t until 1964 before the 15th Amendment was passed giving African American’s the right to vote and almost abolishing Jim Crow laws. Sadly, a lot of these laws [Jim Crow laws] are still on the books today. They were never repealed, and they’re still stopping African-Americans from voting. The bottom line: Jim Crow laws that are still on the books stop five million Americans from voting every year. This being said, women still didn’t get the right to vote until the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920 after almost 100 years of not being able to vote. Overall, our voting history is a dark and disturbing aggressive cycle that most schools still neglect to teach to our next generations.

 

Not having the right to vote is horrible, but those who do have the right to vote took huge advantage of it. In the 19th century, many people would just sell their votes outright, and opportunistic citizens would make bank traveling from state to state being paid to vote. Election fraud went on well into the 20th century. LBJ won a Senate election by buying the votes of entire districts. In one case, a corrupt election worker changed a 7 to a 9. Although it can be argued that voting is a necessity for every citizen, but at the cost of what’s going on beneath the surface, do we really have the right to vote?

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