Voting is one kind of active civic involvement that supports the well-being and prosperity of local communities. Voters are more inclined to interact with their neighbors, communicate with elected authorities, and participate in other civic activities.
Voter participation is essential to charity work because it empowers the individuals and communities we serve and advances our goals. In addition, voting is linked to more effective advocacy, cohesive societies, and personal agency, among other things.
The National Voting Rights Act bars discriminatory practices in voting and requires jurisdictions with a history of racial disenfranchisement to get federal preclearance for their election laws.
Black voter registration in some states increased by more than 50 percent over the years after the Voting Rights Act was passed. That increase is a direct result of the protections that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act provided.
Black-White Voter Registration
The National Voting Rights Act was a landmark legislation that helped millions of Black Americans finally register to vote and break the barriers. In addition, the Act outlawed poll taxes, literacy tests, and other forms of discrimination that made it hard for African Americans to exercise their fundamental right to vote.
The law also enacted the Voting Rights Amendment, which expanded protections to more non-white groups.
Another impact of the Voting Rights Act was increasing voter registration, particularly among poor and working-class Black citizens. It paved the way for African American political representation in local, state, and federal governments.
Black-White Wage Convergence
The Voting Rights Act changed the racial landscape in the South and across the nation and how Black Americans were treated economically. It outlawed standard practices such as poll taxes and literacy tests that deprived Black Americans of the right to vote and contained harsh enforcement measures.
A significant portion of the Black-White wage gap narrowed after the Voting Rights Act was passed, primarily due to competition within the private sector. Research on this subject finds that competition between Black and White workers in the private sector is responsible for about 29 to 35 percent of the observed decline in the Black/White wage gap following the passage of the Act.
In addition, Section 5 of the Act directly increased employment for Blacks in public jobs. These higher-paying government positions often provided opportunities for Black workers to move into the private sector and thus reduce the Black-White wage gap.
However, some studies find that the Shelby County decision invalidating the enforcement provisions of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 weakened the effectiveness of Section 5. In particular, these research findings indicate that counties previously covered by the Act began seeing decreases in Black-White wages for public sector jobs as early as five years following the Supreme Court ruling.
In the face of these backslides, it’s essential to continue pushing for further progress. We should look to those who have fought for human rights, especially those at intersections of race and gender, to build strong bridges between people of color, both in voting and in the labor market.
Black-White Voter Participation
From the end of reconstruction (approximately 1877) to the passage of the National Voting Rights Act in 1965, white supremacists used various tactics to suppress or manipulate Black voter participation. Among these was a series of restrictive voting laws that made it disproportionately difficult for Black people to register and vote.
Despite the many efforts to increase voter turnout in recent years, Black-White voter participation has remained below historical norms. It is unsurprising, considering that the nation’s Black population has only grown slightly in the past 18 years, and the Black share of the overall electorate remains below its pre-reconstruction levels.
In a democratic system, high voter turnout influences public policy. It’s also a critical safeguard against political manipulation and foreign interference. Unfortunately, turnout in the United States hovers around 60% in presidential elections and is lower overall than in most established democracies.
Many factors, including socioeconomic status, cause low voter turnout, the time of year elections occur, and voting restrictions. It’s also affected by voter registration laws, identification requirements, and voter access to polling places.
The Voting Rights Act is a historic civil rights law that prohibits dBlack Americansiscrimination based on race or color in all aspects of the electoral process. Congress approved it in 1965, and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into law.
After the Voting Rights Act was passed, Black voters could register to vote and cast their ballots in many more elections. In addition, the law protected the right to vote against racial discrimination at all levels, including federal, state, and local governments.
The Voting Rights Act also requires jurisdictions to get preclearance from the federal government before making any changes to their election procedures. As a result, Section 5 has played an essential role in ensuring that voting practices do not disproportionately impact people of color.
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