Timeline: The Long History of Voter Suppression

The 200-year battle over which Americans get to cast their ballots on Election Day.

“Your Right to Vote is Your Opportunity to Protect”<a href="http://myloc.gov/Exhibitions/creatingtheus/Constitution/ConstitutionLegacy/ExhibitObjects/OpportunitytoProtect.aspx">Library of Congress</a>

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

We’ve come a long way from the days when women, blacks, immigrants, and pretty much anyone who wasn’t a white male was kept from the polls. This timeline explores 200 years of efforts to restrict and expand the right to vote. (And for more on current efforts to disenfranchise voters, read about the 10 most common vote-blocking tricks.)

For more information on voting rights history, check out these great timelines from the ACLU and KQED.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend