Voting hasn't always been a guaranteed right. In fact, it hasn't even been accessible to huge swaths of Americans for very long. Meet civil-rights activist and Alabama native Theresa Burroughs, who as a young woman was routinely turned away from polling stations by officials asking arcane (and illegal) questions about the constitution to discriminate against Black citizens. Thankfully, with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, African Americans were finally able to enjoy the freedoms promised by the Fifth Amendment, which extends the right to participate in our democracy to all races. In the 1970's, President Richard Nixon used the Twenty-Sixth Amendment to expand suffrage even further by reducing the voting age from 21 to 18. This change was instrumental in the 2008 and 2012 elections: Without millennial and minority voters, Barack Obama might not have been president — and where would we be without Michelle?
Despite these expansions of voting rights, the proliferation of voter-ID laws is threatening access to the ballot box for a staggering 21 million voters (that is not a typo). Requiring voters to present government-issued photo identification could disenfranchise a full 11% of the American electorate. The bottom line? Never take your right to vote for granted. Register here
and make sure your voice is heard in 2016.
This video is part of We the Voters, a social-impact campaign incorporating high-profile celebrities, real political players, and dynamic storylines into a series of groundbreaking short films and apps. We the Voters seeks to demystify how the government and elections work, inspiring millions of young Americans to seize the power of their votes in the 2016 elections. Presenting 21 interconnected viral films and a variety of ancillary digital extensions across multiple platforms, We the Voters presents democracy and elections in a new, accessible format. As entertaining as it is informative, We the Voters promotes a clear call to action, encouraging young voters to make informed choices. It will be the ultimate resource for understanding what is at stake in this election — and in those to come.