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US Voting Rights

The right to vote has been a contentious issue in the US since the inception of the country. There was no specific right to vote or qualifications to vote drafted into the US Constitution. Each state was left to develop individual standards on how to run their voting and election processes. During the early years of the US, the right to vote was traditionally limited to white men who owned property, with a few states permitting freed African-Americans to vote. Prerequisites used to determine who was permitted to vote in the states included characteristics such as race, sex, property ownership and wealth. Religious requirements were also widely used to determine voting and office-holding eligibility: early versions of the constitution of South Carolina only allowed Protestants to vote, Delaware required every elected official to affirm belief in both the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible and the state of Maryland did not extend voting rights to Jewish individuals until 1828.



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