Category: America’s Right to Vote



In Memory of Pfc Wesley R. Riggs, who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and all that have served and are serving today, who fought and fight FOR FREEDOM!

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France.

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities.  This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. From left: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts 

On that same day, President Eisenhower sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.

In 1958, the White House advised VA’s General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee’s chairman.

The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2012
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Attorney General Abbott Tells International Election Observers to Abide by Texas Election Laws

Texas AG says Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has no jurisdiction over Texas elections

 

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today advised the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe — a United Nations partner — that groups and individuals from outside the United States do not have jurisdiction to interfere with Texas elections. The Attorney General’s letter comes after the international group — comprised of 56 members including EU nations and other countries such as Albania, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, the Russian Federation, Slovenia and Turkey — announced they would be sending election observers to sites throughout the United States, including Texas, on Election Day.

Media Links
Attorney General Abbott’s letter

Text of the letter:

October 23, 2012

Ambassador Daan Everts
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
UI. Miodowa 10
00-251
Warsaw, Poland

Dear Ambassador Everts:

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will reportedly dispatch election observers to the State of Texas to monitor the November 2012 general election. While it remains unclear exactly what your monitoring is intended to achieve, or precisely what tactics you will use to achieve the proposed monitoring, OSCE has stated publicly that it will visit polling stations on Election Day as part of its monitoring plan.

In April, you reportedly met with a group of organizations that have filed lawsuits challenging election integrity laws enacted by the Texas Legislature. One of those organizations, Project Vote, is closely affiliated with ACORN, which collapsed in disgrace after its role in a widespread voter-registration fraud scheme was uncovered. In September, a federal appeals court rejected Project Vote’s challenge to the State’s voter-registration regulations and allowed Texas to continue enforcing laws that were enacted to protect the integrity of the voter-registration process.

According to a letter that Project Vote and other organizations sent to you, OSCE has identified Voter ID laws as a barrier to the right to vote. That letter urged OSCE to monitor states that have taken steps to protect ballot integrity by enacting Voter ID laws. The OSCE may be entitled to its opinions about Voter ID laws, but your opinion is legally irrelevant in the United States, where the Supreme Court has already determined that Voter ID laws are constitutional.

If OSCE members want to learn more about our election processes so they can improve their own democratic systems, we welcome the opportunity to discuss the measures Texas has implemented to protect the integrity of elections. However, groups and individuals from outside the United States are not allowed to influence or interfere with the election process in Texas. This State has robust election laws that were carefully crafted to protect the integrity of our election system. All persons—including persons connected with OSCE—are required to comply with these laws.

Elections and election observation are regulated by state law. The Texas Election Code governs anyone who participates in Texas elections—including representatives of the OSCE. The OSCE’s representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place. It may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance. Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.

Sincerely,
Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas


 

Sample Ballot:

http://www.co.chambers.tx.us/Countyclerk/Ballots/10.pdf


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2012
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AUSTIN–Last night the U.S. Supreme Court denied Project Vote’s emergency request to block Texas from enforcing election integrity laws that were enacted to prevent voter-registration fraud. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott released the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of Project Vote’s appeal:

“The Supreme Court’s rejection of Project Vote’s appeal is a victory for voter integrity and helps Texas prevent fraud in the voter-registration process. The partisan groups that challenged these laws were founded by and affiliated with ACORN – an organization that was notorious for voter-registration fraud. With this ruling, the court rejected these ACORN affiliates’ attempts to circumvent election integrity laws and helped ensure that Texans can have confidence in the integrity of their elections.”

Background:
– On September 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling staying the preliminary injunction issued by the lower court against the state’s third-party voter-registration laws.
– On September 14, Project Vote filed an emergency appeal in the U.S. Supreme Court asking the high court to vacate the circuit court’s stay.
– On September 25, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Project Vote’s emergency appeal.


Chambers County candidates for local office, listed in ballot order.
Candidates names shown in “red” won a contested race.
Candidates names shown in “green” will be in the July 31st run-off.

POSITION                        CANDIDATE
344th District Judge           Richard Baker
344th District Judge           Randy McDonald

Sheriff                                Brian Hawthorne
Sheriff                                Monroe Kreuzer, Jr

Commissioner Pct. 1          Arlette Hankamer Williams
Commissioner Pct. 1          Jimmy Earl Gore
Commissioner Pct. 1          Kim Eric Bagwell

Commissioner Pct 3            Gary Nelson

Tax-Assessor Collector       Denise Hutter
Tax-Assessor Collector       Robin Sudberry-Boles

344th District Attorney       Cheryl Swope Lieck

County Attorney                 Scott R. Peal

Constable Pct 1          Dennis Dugat
                                         Larry Smith
                                         George Daniels

Constable Pct 2                 Don Langford

Constable Pct 3                 Donnie Standley

Constable Pct 4                 Ben L. “Butch” Bean Jr

Constable Pct 6          Robert Barrow
                                               Marc Estes

County Chair                    Tammy Jenkins


When the Constitution was written, only white male property owners (about 10 to 16 percent of the nation’s population) had the vote. Over the past two centuries, though, the term “government by the people” has become a reality. During the early 1800s, states gradually dropped property requirements for voting. Later, groups that had been excluded previously gained the right to vote. Other reforms made the process fairer and easier.

1790 -Only white male adult property-owners have the right to vote.

1810 – Last religious prerequisite for voting is eliminated.

1850 – Property ownership and tax requirements eliminated by 1850.  Almost all adult white males could vote.

1855 – Connecticut adopts the nation’s first literacy test for voting. Massachusetts follows suit in 1857. The tests were implemented to discriminate against Irish-Catholic immigrants.

1870 – The 15th Amendment is passed. It gives former slaves the right to vote and protects the voting rights of adult male citizens of any race.

1889 – Florida adopts a poll tax. Ten other southern states will implement poll taxes.

1890 – Mississippi adopts a literacy test to keep African Americans from voting. Numerous other states—not just in the south—also establish literacy tests. However, the tests also exclude many whites from voting. To get around this, states add grandfather clauses that allow those who could vote before 1870, or their descendants, to vote regardless of literacy or tax qualifications.

1913 – The 17th Amendment calls for members of the U.S. Senate to be elected directly by the people instead of State Legislatures.

1915 – Oklahoma was the last state to append a grandfather clause to its literacy requirement (1910). In Guinn v. United States the Supreme Court rules that the clause is in conflict with the 15th Amendment, thereby outlawing literacy tests for federal elections.

1920 – The 19th Amendment guarantees women’s suffrage.

1924 – Indian Citizenship Act grants all Native Americans the rights of citizenship, including the right to vote in federal elections.

1944 – The Supreme Court outlaws “white primaries” in Smith v. Allwright (Texas). In Texas, and other states, primaries were conducted by private associations, which, by definion, could exclude whomever they chose. The Court declares the nomination process to be a public process bound by the terms of 15th Amendment.

1957 – The first law to implement the 15th amendment, the Civil Rights Act, is passed. The Act set up the Civil Rights Commission—among its duties is to investigate voter discrimination.

1960 – In Gomillion v. Lightfoot (Alabama) the Court outlaws “gerrymandering.”

1961 – The 23rd Amendment allows voters of the District of Columbia to participate in presidential elections.

1964 – The 24th Amendment bans the poll tax as a requirement for voting in federal elections.

1965 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., mounts a voter registration drive in Selma, Alabama, to draw national attention to African-American voting rights.

1965 – The Voting Rights Act protects the rights of minority voters and eliminates voting barriers such as the literacy test. The Act is expanded and renewed in 1970, 1975, and 1982.

1966 – The Supreme Court, in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, eliminates the poll tax as a qualification for voting in any election. A poll tax was still in use in Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia.

1966 – The Court upholds the Voting Rights Act in South Carolina v. Katzenbach.

1970 – Literacy requirements are banned for five years by the 1970 renewal of the Voting Rights Act. At the time, eighteen states still have a literacy requirement in place. In Oregon v. Mitchell, the Court upholds the ban on literacy tests, which is made permanent in 1975. Judge Hugo Black, writing the court’s opinion, cited the “long history of the discriminatory use of literacy tests to disenfranchise voters on account of their race” as the reason for their decision.

1971 – The 26th amendment sets the minimum voting age at 18.

1972 – In Dunn v. Blumstein, the Supreme Court declares that lengthy residence requirements for voting in state and local elections is unconstitutional and suggests that 30 days is an ample period.

1995 – The Federal “Motor Voter Law” takes effect, making it easier to register to vote.

2003 – Federal Voting Standards and Procedures Act requires states to streamline registration, voting, and other election procedures.

Year Voting-age
population
Voter
registration
Voter turnout Turnout of voting-age 
population (percent)
2010** 235,809,266 NA 90,682,968 37.8%
2008* 231,229,580 NA 132,618,580* 56.8
2006 220,600,000 135,889,600 80,588,000 37.1
2004 221,256,931 174,800,000 122,294,978 55.3
2002 215,473,000 150,990,598 79,830,119 37.0
2000 205,815,000 156,421,311 105,586,274 51.3
1998 200,929,000 141,850,558 73,117,022 36.4
1996 196,511,000 146,211,960 96,456,345 49.1
1994 193,650,000 130,292,822 75,105,860 38.8
1992 189,529,000 133,821,178 104,405,155 55.1
1990 185,812,000 121,105,630 67,859,189 36.5
1988 182,778,000 126,379,628 91,594,693 50.1
1986 178,566,000 118,399,984 64,991,128 36.4
1984 174,466,000 124,150,614 92,652,680 53.1
1982 169,938,000 110,671,225 67,615,576 39.8
1980 164,597,000 113,043,734 86,515,221 52.6
1978 158,373,000 103,291,265 58,917,938 37.2
1976 152,309,190 105,037,986 81,555,789 53.6
1974 146,336,000 96,199,0201 55,943,834 38.2
1972 140,776,000 97,328,541 77,718,554 55.2
1970 124,498,000 82,496,7472 58,014,338 46.6
1968 120,328,186 81,658,180 73,211,875 60.8
1966 116,132,000 76,288,2833 56,188,046 48.4
1964 114,090,000 73,715,818 70,644,592 61.9
1962 112,423,000 65,393,7514 53,141,227 47.3
1960 109,159,000 64,833,0965 68,838,204 63.1

*Source 2008 election results:  http://elections.gmu.edu/Turnout_2008G.html.
**Source 2010 election results: http://elections.gmu.edu/Turnout_2010G.html

n.a. = not available. NOTE: Presidential election years are in boldface.
1. Registrations from Iowa not included.
2. Registrations from Iowa and Mo. not included.
3. Registrations from Iowa, Kans., Miss., Mo., Nebr., and Wyo. not included. D.C. did not have independent status.
4. Registrations from Ala., Alaska, D.C., Iowa, Kans., Ky., Miss., Mo., Nebr., N.C., N.D., Okla., S.D., Wis., and Wyo. not included.
5. Registrations from Ala., Alaska, D.C., Iowa, Kans., Ky., Miss., Mo., Nebr., N.M., N.C., N.D., Okla., S.D., Wis., and Wyo. not included.
Source: Federal Election Commission. Data drawn from Congressional Research Service reports, Election Data Services Inc., and State Election Offices.

Read more: National Voter Turnout in Federal Elections: 1960–2010 — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781453.html#ixzz1uHL6ou5M


To former abolitionists and to the Radical Republicans in Congress who fashioned Reconstruction after the Civil War, the 15th amendment, enacted in 1870, appeared to signify the fulfillment of all promises to African Americans. Set free by the 13th amendment, with citizenship guaranteed by the 14th amendment, black males were given the vote by the 15th amendment. From that point on, the freedmen were generally expected to fend for themselves. In retrospect, it can be seen that the 15th amendment was in reality only the beginning of a struggle for equality that would continue for more than a century before African Americans could begin to participate fully in American public and civic life.

African Americans exercised the franchise and held office in many Southern states through the 1880s, but in the early 1890s, steps were taken to ensure subsequent “white supremacy.” Literacy tests for the vote, “grandfather clauses” excluding from the franchise all whose ancestors had not voted in the 1860s, and other devices to disenfranchise African Americans were written into the constitutions of former Confederate states. Social and economic segregation were added to black America’s loss of political power. In 1896 the Supreme Court decision Plessy v. Ferguson legalized “separate but equal” facilities for the races. For more than 50 years, the overwhelming majority of African American citizens were reduced to second-class citizenship under the “Jim Crow” segregation system. During that time, African Americans sought to secure their rights and improve their position through organizations such as National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Urban League and through the individual efforts of reformers like Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and A. Philip Randolph.

The most direct attack on the problem of African American disfranchisement came in 1965. Prompted by reports of continuing discriminatory voting practices in many Southern states, President Lyndon B. Johnson, himself a southerner, urged Congress on March 15, 1965, to pass legislation “which will make it impossible to thwart the 15th amendment.” He reminded Congress that “we cannot have government for all the people until we first make certain it is government of and by all the people.” The Voting Rights Act of 1965, extended in 1970, 1975, and 1982, abolished all remaining deterrents to exercising the franchise and authorized Federal supervision of voter registration where necessary.


This is the first in a small series of posts to remind you to vote!  Whether democrat, republican, libertarian, independent; someone paid a price for your right.  

Definition of SUFFRAGE

: a short intercessory prayer usually in a series

: a vote given in deciding a controverted question or electing a person for an office or trust

: the right of voting : franchisealso : the exercise of such right

The following is an excerpt from ourdocuments.gov.  Please visit and find out the history of our voting rights!  

Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote.

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The 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle; victory took decades of agitation and protest. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution. Few early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920.

Beginning in the 1800s, women organized, petitioned, and picketed to win the right to vote, but it took them decades to accomplish their purpose. Between 1878, when the amendment was first introduced in Congress, and August 18, 1920, when it was ratified, champions of voting rights for women worked tirelessly, but strategies for achieving their goal varied. Some pursued a strategy of passing suffrage acts in each state—nine western states adopted woman suffrage legislation by 1912. Others challenged male-only voting laws in the courts. Militant suffragists used tactics such as parades, silent vigils, and hunger strikes. Often supporters met fierce resistance. Opponents heckled, jailed, and sometimes physically abused them.

By 1916, almost all of the major suffrage organizations were united behind the goal of a constitutional amendment. When New York adopted woman suffrage in 1917 and President Wilson changed his position to support an amendment in 1918, the political balance began to shift.

On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment, and 2 weeks later, the Senate followed. When Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920, the amendment passed its final hurdle of obtaining the agreement of three-fourths of the states. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the ratification on August 26, 1920, changing the face of the American electorate forever.

For more information, visit the National Archives’ Digital Classroom Teaching With Documents Lesson Plan: Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment.

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