The Mississippi Sharecropper Who Helped Black Americans Win Voting Rights

Fannie Lou Hamer’s Legacy Reminds Us That Everyday People Can Effect Change—Even When the Nation Is Impossibly Divided

Though Black people represented 50 percent of Mississippi’s voting age population in 1964, Jim Crow literacy tests, poll taxes, violence, and intimidation had managed to all but silence their political power at the polls. Now, adding to their disenfranchisement, white Southern Democrats were proposing seating an all-white delegation at that year’s Democratic National Convention.

Fannie Lou Hamer—a poor, middle-aged, Black sharecropper—wasn’t having it. That August, she testified before a convention committee, alongside better-known civil rights activists, including Martin Luther King Jr., and demanded the right to represent the citizens of Mississippi …

An Election Observer in El Salvador Looks Back | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

An Election Observer in El Salvador Looks Back

Fall 2020 Reminds Me of 1994, When I Watched for Fraud and Intimidation as a War-Torn Nation Voted

In downtown San Miguel, long lines of voters snaked around the block in the pre-dawn darkness. It was still an hour before the open-air election booths on the sidewalks lining …

Suppressing Voting Rights Is as Old as the Republic—But the Tactics Keep Changing 

Discriminatory State Constitutions, Poll and Literacy Taxes, and Now Photo ID Laws All Have Been Used to Keep Ballots From the Less Powerful 

The more that efforts to suppress voting rights in America change, the more they remain the same.

From the earliest days of the republic to the present, politicians have sought to …

How Midwestern Suffragists Used Anti-Immigrant Fervor to Help Gain the Vote

Women Fighting for the Ballot Saw German Men as Backward, Ignorant, and Less Worthy of Citizenship Than Themselves

In September 1914, the nationally renowned suffragist Anna Howard Shaw spoke to a large crowd at a Congregational Church in Yankton County, South Dakota. Shaw, a slight but charismatic 67-year-old, …

Here Are Two Voting Reforms That Could Counter America’s Hyperpolarization

When Used Together, ‘Ranked Choice’ and ‘Top Two’ Elections Would Strengthen Major Parties and Favor Moderate Politicians

Political polarization has spread across the globe. The ensuing ideological purity might make each warring faction appear stronger, but in reality, hyperpolarization weakens parties by making them less appealing to …