S2 E27 | The State of Voting and Representation


S2 E27 The State of Voting and Representation

Thank you for joining us to celebrate the virtues of self-rule and debate the state of our republic. Welcome to the Citizens Prerogative Podcast.

Discussion topics in this episode:

  • Our right to vote is under siege by proposals across 43 out of 50 states in the Union (Washington Post, March 11, 2021). This is one of the rare cases DC is fortunate not to have a statehouse. We provide a May round-up on what’s passed, below under the more info section.
  • First, we review a “brief” timeline on the Hokey Pokey dance for who could vote when and where within the United States. Thank you to Wikipedia for the info. (Full list here, accessed Jun 4, 2021).



  • The Constitution of the United States grants the states the power to set voting requirements. Generally, states limited this right to property-owning or tax-paying white males (about 6% of the population).[1] However, some states allowed also Black males to vote, and New Jersey also included unmarried and widowed women, regardless of color. Since married women were not allowed to own property, they could not meet the property qualifications.[2]


  • Vermont is admitted as a new state, giving the vote to men regardless of color or property ownership.[5]


  • Voting rights are taken away from free black males and from all women in New Jersey.[2]





  • Citizenship is granted to Native Americans who are willing to disassociate themselves from their tribe by the Dawes Act, making those males technically eligible to vote.
  • Women in Washington lose the right to vote.[24]
  • Women in Utah lose the right to vote under the Edmunds–Tucker Act.[25]
  • Kansas women earn the right to vote in municipal elections.[20]
  • Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, and South Dakota grant partial suffrage to women.[13]







  • All Native Americans are granted citizenship and the right to vote through the Indian Citizenship Act, regardless of tribal affiliation. By this point, approximately two thirds of Native Americans were already citizens.[35][36] Notwithstanding, some western states continued to bar Native Americans from voting until 1948.[37]







  • Protection of voter registration and voting for racial minorities, later applied to language minorities, is established by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.[11] This has also been applied to correcting discriminatory election systems and districting.
  • In Harman v. Forssenius the Supreme Court ruled that poll taxes or “equivalent or milder substitutes” cannot be imposed on voters.[30]



  • Alaska ends the use of literacy tests.[44]
  • Native Americans who live on reservations in Colorado are first allowed to vote in the state.[50]



  • Washington, D.C. local elections, such as Mayor and Councilmen, restored after a 100-year gap in Georgetown, and a 190-year gap in the wider city, ending Congress’s policy of local election disfranchisement started in 1801 in this former portion of Maryland—see: D.C. Home rule.



    • Supreme Court ruled in the 5–4 Shelby County v. Holder decision that Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional. Section 4(b) stated that if states or local governments want to change their voting laws, they must appeal to the Attorney General.[62]
  • Call to Action:  Email or call your Congressional Senator to voice your support for  HR1 – For the People Act of 2021 which passed the House and sits on the doorstep of the Senate. Now is a critical time. Also, it’s worth mentioning that a more focused bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act seems to have enough support to pass the Senate, as of this moment anyway.
  • Find out what it takes to vote in your county and get it taken care of, then vote in candidates who support everyone’s access and right to vote.


  • Michael V. Piscitelli
  • Raymond Wong Jr.

More info

  • States Alerts! According to Voting Laws Roundup: May 2021 by the Brennan Center for Justice, states have already enacted more than 20 laws this year that will make it harder for Americans to vote — and many legislatures are still in session. Between January 1 and May 14, 2021, at least 14 states enacted 22 new laws that restrict access to the vote. At least 61 bills with restrictive provisions are moving through 18 state legislatures. 
  • Just to illustrate the variety of voting conditions available to citizens across the thousands of counties among the 50 states, here’s a chart.  🙂

Special thanks to

    • Our ongoing supporters, thank you!
    • Our sponsor CitizenDoGood.com .
    • Intro music sampled from “Okay Class” by Ozzy Jock under creative commons license through freemusicarchive.org.
    • Other music provided royalty-free through Fesliyan Studios Inc.







“Sound the alarm” image by SergeShop.


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