Suffrage

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  • The right to vote in a political election, as established by the government. Suffrage, if it exists at all, varies greatly between nations. Voting requirements traditionally depend on the following variables: gender, religion, wealth, education, race/ethnicity, age, residency, birth country, and criminal record. The U.S. Constitution contains many amendments reflecting the nation's suffrage history. The amendments allow nonwhite males (Fifteenth Amendment, 1870); women (Nineteenth Amendment, 1920); residents of Washington, D.C. (Twenty-Third Amendment, 1961); the poor—after abolishing the poll tax (Twenty-Fourth Amendment, 1962; extended to state elections in the Supreme Court decision of 1966, Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections); and 18- to 21-year-olds (Twenty-Sixth Amendment, 1971) to vote. Apart from the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, the states decide who can vote in their state. ...

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