Saturday, November 2, 2013

Saturday Short Subjects: Get Out and Vote

For many of us this coming Tuesday, November 5, is a very important day — Election Day. In my city of New Haven, Connecticut, we are voting to elect a new mayor for the first time in 20 years!

How the citizens of New Haven vote will have a dramatic impact on the city’s future. Will they vote the party as usual, or will they vote for change? It may well turn out to be a scenario in which every single vote counts. I know I will be at the polls first thing in the morning, and I will be devoting Tuesday to helping my candidate

Most of us have had the right to vote since we hit the age of 18. For that we owe the hard work of those brave individuals who fought long and hard to win this right for all Americans. 

Only white, male property owners were eligible to vote in the first presidential election in 1789 (6% of the population). 

The 15th Amendment passed in 1870 declared that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." In reality, it took the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 to preventing southern states from any longer finding ways to disenfranchise black voters.

The Women’s Suffrage Movement began in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, but it took until August, 1920 to pass the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. For photos of the gutsy women whose protests and arrests made the amendment’s passage possible, visit the archives of the Library of Congress. Just think, this happened less than 100 years ago!

Naturalized citizens have to study and pass a test in order to earn the right to vote. Here are the 100 questions on which the citizenship test draws. Did you know all these answers? 

Have a nice weekend. And, don’t forget to vote on Tuesday.

Why Saturday Short Subjects? Some readers may recall  being dropped at the movie theater for the Saturday matinee — two action-packed feature films with a series of short subjects (cartoons or short movies, sometimes a serial cliffhanger) sandwiched in between. Often the short subjects were the most memorable, and enjoyable, part of the morning. That explains the name. The reason behind these particular posts is that we are all short on time. My Short Subject posts should not take me as long to write or you as long to read (or try).

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