Ninety-eight years ago today, on August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote, was adopted into the Constitution; earlier this month, August 6th marked the fifty-third anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which, in 1965, prohibited voting laws that discriminate on the basis of language or race. August is a big month in the history of voting rights—a history that continues to unfold, since many Americans still struggle to have their votes counted—and, this week, we’re exploring it. Writing in 1928, Russel Crouse tells the story of Victoria Claflin Woodhull, who, in 1872, became the first woman to run for President. In a piece from 1965, Renata Adler reports from the march from Selma to Montgomery, during which thousands of African-Americans demanded the right to vote. Jelani Cobb explains why their quest isn’t over in “Suppression of the Black Vote is No Relic,” from 2016, and, in “The Voter-Fraud Myth,” from 2012, Jane Mayer reveals how present-day legislation aims to disenfranchise voters in novel ways. Elizabeth Kolbert discovers how gerrymandering is undermining democracy in “Drawing the Line.” Finally, in “America Continues to Ignore the Risks of Election Hacking,” Sue Halpern describes the high-tech threats to the voting process with which we’re only beginning to grapple. These pieces show that the right to vote can’t be taken for granted: it has to be established and safeguarded, again and again.
“Suppression of the Black Vote Is No Relic”
“Consider the fact that the biggest proponent of voter intimidation is not a Mississippi sheriff trawling registration rolls for black people but a real-estate developer born and raised in Queens.” Read more.
“America Continues to Ignore the Risks of Election Hacking”
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“One of the enduring myths about American elections, and one that persists even after the revelations of 2016, is that they are largely insulated from hacking because we have no centralized voting system and because most voting occurs offline.” Read more.
“Letter from Selma”
“Most of them were aware that protection along a route of more than fifty miles of hostile country could not be absolute, yet few of the thirty-two hundred marchers who set out on Sunday morning seemed to have a strong consciousness of risk.” Read more.
“The Voter-Fraud Myth”
“Mainstream election experts say that the Republican lawyer Hans von Spakovsky has had an improbably large impact.” Read more.
New Yorker writers on the 2018 midterm elections.
“Drawing the Line”
“In contrast to our union, gerrymandering actually has grown more perfect with time.” Read more.
“That Was New York”
“Fifty years ago, a woman ran for President, in a day when woman’s place was in the home with the doors locked and shutters closed.” Read more.