CHALK THE VOTE!

The long history of voting rights—who has had access to the ballot, how voting rights have been gained, or lost, by US citizens—extends beyond the anniversary of the 19th Amendment.  The year 2020 is the:

  • 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment (removed race, color or prior servitude from denying voting rights)
  • 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment (removed sex from denying voting rights)
  • 56th anniversary of the 24th Amendment (ended the poll tax)
  • 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (prohibited racial discrimination in voting)
  • 49thanniversary of the 26th Amendment: right to vote cannot be denied on account of age for those 18 or older (This amendment has roots in an Oregon legal case, Oregon v. Mitchell, 1970)

Together these five legislative remedies extended the right to vote/suffrage/the franchise to vast numbers of citizens who had previously been denied full citizenship. Each of these pieces of legislation righted previous wrongs by adding new voices to the governance of our nation, and moved us closer to the stated equality laid out in our nation’s founding documents.

OWHC and the Oregon Historical Society are collaborating on #ChalkTheVoteOR for August 26, 2020. To honor all of these important changes to our state’s and our nation’s history of voting rights, we encourage you or your organization to plan now for chalking the text of any or all of these significant amendments and acts (English and Spanish amendment text available below. More translations coming soon).

15th Amendment (1870):

“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.”

19th Amendment (1920):

“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 sex.”

24th Amendment (1964)

The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Voting Rights Act (1965):

“AN ACT To enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States . . . No voting qualifications or prerequisites to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”  

26th Amendment (1971)

The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.

 

En Español

15th Enmienda, 1870

Los Estados Unidos o cualquier Estado no negarán ni restringirán el derecho de los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos a votar por motivos de raza, color o condición previa de servidumbre.

19th Enmienda, 1920

El derecho de los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos a votar no será denegado ni restringido por los Estados Unidos ni por ningún Estado por razón de sexo.

24th Enmienda, 1964

El derecho de los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos a votar en cualquier elección primaria u otra para Presidente o Vicepresidente, para electores para Presidente o Vicepresidente, o para Senador o Representante en el Congreso, no será denegado ni restringido por los Estados Unidos ni un Estado por no pagar impuesto de votación u cualquier otro impuesto.

Voting Rights Act, 1965

UNA LEY Para hacer cumplir la decimoquinta enmienda a la Constitución de los Estados Unidos. . . Ningún estado o subdivisión política impondrá o aplicará calificaciones de votación o requisitos previos para votar, o estándar, práctica o procedimiento para negar o restringir el derecho de cualquier ciudadano de los Estados Unidos a votar por motivos de raza o color.

26th Enmienda, 1970

Los Estados Unidos o cualquier estado no negarán ni restringirán el derecho de los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos, que tienen 18 años de edad o más, a votar.

 

Some History of Chalking for Suffrage

Chalking sidewalks in support of Votes for Women is nothing new! Noted national lecturer on suffrage and labor issues, Frances Squire Potter, came to Oregon in 1912. On the day the Potter was to lecture at the Taylor Street Methodist Episcopal Church, young supporters chalked the sidewalks around the church to encourage passersby to attend that lecture.

Morning Oregonian, July 9, 1912, p3.

To see an example of a contemporary chalk project, click here.