- Voting Rights Act
Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1965 to ensure the voting rights of African Americans.Though the Constitution's 15th Amendment (passed 1870) had guaranteed the right to vote regardless of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude," African Americans in the South faced efforts to disenfranchise them, including poll taxes and literacy tests, as late as the 1960s, when the civil rights movement focused national attention on infringements of their voting rights; Congress responded with the Voting Rights Act, which prohibited Southern states from using literacy tests to determine eligibility to vote. Later laws prohibited literacy tests in all states and made poll taxes illegal in state and local elections.
* * *▪ United States U.S. legislation (Aug. 6, 1965) that aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote under the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) to the Constitution of the United States (Constitution of the United States of America). The act significantly widened the franchise and is considered among the most far-reaching pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history.Shortly following the American Civil War (1861–65), the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified, guaranteeing that the right to vote would not be denied “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Soon afterward the U.S. Congress enacted legislation that made it a federal crime to interfere with an individual's right to vote and that otherwise protected the rights promised to former slaves under both the Fourteenth (1868) and Fifteenth amendments. In some states of the former Confederacy, African Americans became a majority or near majority of the eligible voting population, and African American candidates ran and were elected to office at all levels of government.Nevertheless, there was strong opposition to the extension of the franchise to African Americans. Following the end of Reconstruction in 1877, the Supreme Court of the United States limited voting protections under federal legislation, and intimidation and fraud were employed by white leaders to reduce voter registration and turnout among African Americans. As whites came to dominate state legislatures once again, legislation was used to strictly circumscribe the right of African Americans to vote. Poll taxes (poll tax), literacy tests, grandfather clauses (grandfather clause), whites-only primaries, and other measures disproportionately disqualified African Americans from voting. The result was that by the early 20th century nearly all African Americans were disfranchised. In the first half of the 20th century, several such measures were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1915, for example, grandfather clauses were invalidated, and in 1944 whites-only primaries were struck down. Nevertheless, by the early 1960s voter registration rates among African Americans were negligible in much of the Deep South and well below those of whites elsewhere.In the 1950s and early 1960s the U.S. Congress enacted laws to protect the right of African Americans to vote, but such legislation was only partially successful. In 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed and the Twenty-fourth Amendment, abolishing poll taxes for voting for federal offices, was ratified, and the following year President Lyndon B. Johnson (Johnson, Lyndon B.) called for the implementation of comprehensive federal legislation to protect voting rights. The resulting act, the Voting Rights Act, suspended literacy tests, provided for federal oversight of voter registration in areas that had previously used tests to determine voter eligibility (these areas were covered under Section 5 of the legislation), and directed the attorney general of the United States to challenge the use of poll taxes for state and local elections. An expansion of the law in the 1970s also protected voting rights for non-English-speaking U.S. citizens. Section 5 was extended for 5 years in 1970, 7 years in 1975, and 25 years in both 1982 and 2006.The Voting Rights Act resulted in a marked decrease in the voter registration disparity between whites and blacks. In the mid-1960s, for example, the overall proportion of white to black registration in the South ranged from about 2 to 1 to 3 to 1 (and about 10 to 1 in Mississippi); by the late 1980s racial variations in voter registration had largely disappeared. As the number of African American voters increased, so did the number of African American elected officials. In the mid-1960s there were about 70 African American elected officials in the South, but by the turn of the 21st century there were some 5,000, and the number of African American members of the U.S. Congress had increased from 6 to about 40.
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Voting Rights Act — n. A federal law passed in 1965 that guarantees all citizens the right to vote without discrimination by forbidding districts to require people to meet conditions such as literacy tests or educational requirements. The Essential Law Dictionary.… … Law dictionary
Voting Rights Act — of 1965 Full title An act to enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United S … Wikipedia
Voting Rights Act — Präsident Lyndon B. Johnson unterschreibt den Voting Rights Act, 6. August 1965 Präsident Johnson bei einer Ansprache vor dem Kongress vor der Unterzeichnung des Gesetzes … Deutsch Wikipedia
Voting Rights Act — Le Voting Rights Act (Loi sur les droits de vote) est une loi du Congrès des États Unis qui a été signée par le président Lyndon Johnson le 6 août 1965. Bien qu en théorie les Afro Américains disposaient du droit de vote depuis 1870,… … Wikipédia en Français
Voting Rights Act — A federal statute enacted in 1965, prohibiting any state or political subdivision from imposing or applying any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or any standard, practice, or procedure, denying the right of any citizen of the… … Ballentine's law dictionary
Voting Rights Act — Federal law which guarantees the right of citizens to vote without discrimination based on race, color or previous condition of servitude. The Attorney General is authorized to file proper proceedings for preventive relief to protect this right.… … Black's law dictionary
Voting Rights Act of 1965 — a US law passed during the civil rights movement, signed by President Johnson. It made illegal a number of restrictions that had been used, mostly in the South, to keep African Americans from voting. These restrictions included a test of people’s … Universalium
(the) Voting Rights Act of 1965 — the Voting Rights Act of 1965 [the Voting Rights Act of 1965] a US law passed during the ↑civil rights movement, signed by President Johnson. It made illegal a number of restrictions that had been used, mostly in the South, to keep ↑African… … Useful english dictionary
voting rights — n pl 1: rights of participation in esp. public elections see also voting rights act in the important laws section 2: the rights of shareholders or directors to vote on corporate matters compare voting sto … Law dictionary
Voting rights in the United States — The issue of voting rights in the United States has been contentious over the country s history. Eligibility to vote in the U.S. is determined by both Federal and state law. Currently, only citizens can vote in U.S. elections (although this has… … Wikipedia