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Significant Dates In Voting History

Year Historical Event
1789 The United States Constitution grants states the power to set voting requirements. Generally, states limit this right to property-owning or tax-paying white males.
1790 The Naturalization Act of 1790 allows people born outside the United States to become citizens with the right to vote if they are free white persons of good character, having lived in the United States for two (2) years.
1870 African American men are guaranteed the right to vote by the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
1920 Women are guaranteed the right to vote by the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Tennessee is the 36th state to ratify the amendment, making women’s suffrage legal in the United States.
1924 The Snyder Act of 1924 gives Native Americans born in the United States full citizenship and the right to vote.
1961 Residents of Washington, D.C. are granted the right to vote for President and Vice President by the 23rd Amendment to the United States Constitution.
1964 Payment of a poll tax is prohibited from being used as a condition for voting in federal elections by the 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
1965 The Voting Rights Act of 1965 protects voter registration and voting for racial minorities, and is later applied to language minorities.
1966 Poll taxes are prohibited in all United States elections by the Supreme Court.
1971 The 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution lowers the voting age to 18.
1986 Members of the United States Uniformed Services and Merchant Marine, their family members, and United States citizens residing outside the United States are granted the right to register to vote and vote absentee by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.
1993 The National Voter Registration Act (Motor Voter Act) expands the opportunity for convenient voter registration by increasing the number of government agencies serving as registries.
1994 The Tennessee Early Voting Act gives registered Tennessee voters a period of fifteen (15) days to vote in person before an actual election day, without declaring a reason. The Early Voting period typically begins twenty (20) days before an election and ends five (5) days before an election.
2002 The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) reforms the United States voting process. Funds are provided to states to update voting equipment, election administration support is made available, nationwide election standards are established.
2017 Tennesseans may now register to vote online, provided the applicant is a United States citizen with a driver license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security.