Voters Suppression amongst Minority Groups

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:Sociology

Document 1

This paper presents the history voters suppression amongst the African American voters and supporting evidence around it. The paper will explore the policies and measure passed in the last ten decades to which requires voter photo as identity during voting to prevent fraud yet the underlying intention is t promote voter suppression amongst the minority citizens. During the 2016 national elections, 14 states adopted policies to reduce voter fraud. The measures ended up restricting thousands of low income and black Americans from exercising their lawful rights of casting votes. Such measures included reducing the early voting opportunities and polling centers, as well as strict voter ID requirements. Out of the 14 states, five states had a prior record of racial discrimination and they had to seek approval from the federal government before proceeding to change the procedures and laws of voting. Also, four years earlier, Carolina and Ohio have passed similar laws that trimmed the early voting time. This resulted in a reduced voter turnout from the African American voters in both states. According to a federal judge who tossed the law by North Carolina, it was a move targeting the black Americans with almost surgical precision (Alexander, 2012). Donald Trump has been quoted in many cases claiming that there is widespread voter Fraud in the country. The claims can, however, be shown as a myth that is being used to suppress American voters. Many of the studies conducted in this line have shown that cases of voter fraud are rare in the US. An example of this is the nationwide research study carries out in Arizona State University which only identified 10 impersonation fraud from the year 2000 to 2012 ( Wang, 2012).

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After politician raised concerns of fraudulent voting, a follow-up study was conducted in five states and results showed zero cases to support the claims. Surprisingly, during the previous election of 2016, a study showed that people of color in states that had a previous record of voting discrimination had more than 800 less polling centers as compared to 2013 elections. Also, an average, black American voter spend twice as much time to vote as a white voter (Wang, 2012). It only through voting that citizens get the capacity to sway policies, choose leaders and influenced democracy. According to Disch (2011), vote casting is the bedrock of democracy. However, voters who do not exercise the exercise their right of voting can be ignored. It is not a new thing to see that laws that shape turnout and determine who can and who cannot generate enormous conversations and controversy.

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The suppression of the African American voters can also be linked with slavery in the southern part of the nation. The United States foundation is grounded on the recognition of slavery in 1787 when the constitution made provisions of the presentations of slaves as free person’s protection (Finkelman, 2014). But even then, the slaves were considered to be three-fifths of a person and therefore did not qualify to be given citizenship. Post the civil war, under the 13th amendment of the constitution, slavery was abolished. The 14th amendment of 1868 provided for the persons naturalized and born in the US to be full citizens. n 1884, the state through the Supreme Court directed that Native Americans who refused to give up their tribal citizenship were not American citizens. This clearly showed that even after the previous amendments, black Americans were not regarded as civilized enough to be full citizens of the nation.

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It was not until 1898 and 1924 when the nonwhite children were entitled to citizenship by birth and Native American voting rights respectively. According to Issacharoff (2013), the voter right acts of 1965 that were meant to end the suppression, was fueled by several factors including the history of chattel slavery and black codes. Minority voting is as a result of the effects of slavery institutions which were abolished many years ago. S are rarer as compared to being struck by lightning. The concepts fundamental to the suppressing of minority voter groups will further be explained using the social threat theory and the social identity theory. Intergroup Threat Theory This is a sociology theory that attempts to explain the concepts of perceived threats that lead to between different groups in the society (Stephan & Stephan, 2017). The theory was originally coined by Cookie White Stephan and Walter G.

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Stephan, eighteen years ago. Using concepts from this theory, we can argue that, African American voters who are the minority are highly susceptible to perceiving threats since they are at the mercy of the majority whites. Social Identity Theory The social identity theory is said to have originated in British through the works two psychologists; John Turner and Henri in the late 1970s. The concepts around the issue of the American voter can well be explained using the social identity theory (Jenkins, 2014). Basically, the authors of the theory postulate that just as individuals identify with different religious, cultural and ethnic groups, they also do identify with voting or political groups. Social identity can be referred to as the part of a person self-concept that comes from knowledge of group membership tied with the value and emotional importance of the group to the person.

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References Alexander, M.  The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. The New Press. Disch, L. Toward a mobilization conception of democratic representation. Beyond the Discrimination Model on Voting.  Harv. L. Rev. Jenkins, R.  The politics of voter suppression: defending and expanding Americans' right to vote. Cornell University Press.

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