Joy Bivins
Joy Bivins
Curator
Chicago History Museum

Does the vote make us free?

For most of the country’s history, Americans have fought about who should vote. Activists have marched, petitioned, and demonstrated to fight for the right to vote. Gender, race, and age have each kept some from voting.

Constitutional amendments have expanded this right. In 1868, the Fifteenth Amendment extended the vote to African American men, and in 1964 the Twenty-fourth Amendment) outlawed voting fees, tests, and other tactics used to stop black voters. The Nineteenth Amendment (1920) granted women the right to vote. The Twenty-sixth Amendment (1971) lowered the voting age to eighteen in response to youth protests during the Vietnam War.

Despite the move toward universal suffrage, voter turnout is often low. The Outer Banks Sentinel (12/9/2010) reports that in the 2010 mid-term elections, 56% of registered voters did not vote. Many eligible voters are not exercising their rights in our democracy.

Discussion closed on March 12, 2011

Answers

Ivan M, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 01:08pm

I think not voting is a waste of our rights as citizens. Since, today the voting turnouts in this city is just shy of half of registered voters and I guess it's the lack of knowledge of such importance of voting. For example, the recent Mayoral electios was a disapointment, in my opinion since there are always people complaining of things but when the time to act on things ordinarally we stop caring.

Calendar card, 1916
Calendar card, 1916

Whitley S, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 01:05pm

I think voting does not make us free. Voting is for elections on people who we want to win and what we want in return such as less taxes or more school hours. We know that many election, one person will win with over 40% of the votes. Having one more vote does not make a difference because that person will still win. It's the government that is in charge, we do not get what we want out of the voting. Many candidates promise us all these things but it either takes time or they can't do it.

Alma V, 11th

February 25, 2011 - 01:03pm

I think that everyone should have the right to vote no matter what race or color.

Pedro A, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 01:02pm

I think that voting does give us a chance to be free, because for example before in the past people will fight and argue for the rights of voting so that a change can be made in favor of the people. The same now, simply beacause its worst now and their are votings for everything now is the reason why people should go out and vote, to use what maybe our ancestries fought for. Vote is not 100% the key to freedom but is a little something in order to get freedom, A goal can not be accomplished without taking stepts tu success and if everyone takes voting in consideration then, what you call vote, can be what we all want, Freedom[FREE]

Ayairid g, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 01:01pm

In a way it does, because we are voting for a person that is going to be taking control of us. We don't whant to pick a person that is just going to do bad.

Suffrage button, c. 1910
Suffrage button, c. 1910

Dario T, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:58pm

I personally think that voting is in a way a form to make us feel free when we really aren't free. Even if we vote for who and what we want we still remain loyal and have to abige by the laws that person places or helps place. In reality a question that should be asked is one really ever free?

Maria B, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:57pm

I dont think that the vote will make us free because the government is who mostly does all the dessicions.

Peter P, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:57pm

I personally think that voting is in a way a form to make us feel free when we really aren't free. Even if we vote for who and what we want we still remain loyal and have to abige by the laws that person places or helps place.

E O, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:56pm

Voting does not make us free because whoever we vote for they just end up not fullfilling what they promise and it just gets worse at time.

stephany R, 12th

February 25, 2011 - 12:25pm

not really because if what we picked is not right then were does are vote count?