Lack of Voting (Historically)

Historic barriers to voting existed to prevent Black and American Indian communities, as well as women, from changing the white-male-dominated system put in place at the founding of the country.

With the passage of the 15th and 19th Amendments that gave African Americans and then women the vote, many elected officials worried that the new large voting blocs might favor one party over another. The dominant culture was especially concerned with women voting as their voting bloc was extremely large.

Barriers Continue After Securing Right

Additionally, many barriers existed for American Indians, African-Americans and immigrants largely due to violence and racist propaganda. Even after these groups won the legal right to vote, they continued to experience barriers to voting, whether through outright violence and intimidation or through systematic lack of enforcement of voting laws.

Voter ID laws and laws that have the effect of preventing marginalized communities from voting continue to exist, and are sometimes promoted by political party leaders that wish to prevent large segments of voters that do not reflect their party demographics from influencing their way of doing things. Poll taxes, literacy tests and voter ID are proven tools that create barriers to voting.

Immigrants continue to face barriers to citizenship and voting. Naturalized citizens are guaranteed voting rights, but must jump the hurdles of language and cultural differences before voting is viewed as a tool of empowerment.

Resulting Lack in Turnout

Historically, disenfranchised groups that do not develop the habit of voting or who think voting is not important because they have not had regular access to it and are less likely to vote, even when physical barriers are removed.