National Archives News

Voting Rights

Civil Rights March on Washington, 1963  NAID 542010

The U.S. Constitution refers to the election of members of Congress and of the President, but the document adopted in 1787 does not define who may cast those votes. Amendments to the Constitution extended the right to vote in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The 15th Amendment (1870) extended voting rights to men of all races. The 19th Amendment (1920) prohibited the states from denying the vote on the basis of sex. The 24th Amendment (1964) sought to remove barriers to voting by prohibiting a poll tax. And the Voting Rights Act of 1965 secured voting rights for adult citizens of all races and genders in the form of federal laws that enforced the amendments. icon


The National Archives supports Executive Order 14019, which promotes access to voting.
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historical election buttonsPresidential Elections & Inaugurations Records in the National Archives and Presidential Libraries document elections and inaugurations through history.

March for voting rightsBlack Americans and the Vote This research portal highlights National Archives holdings that relate to the long struggle for equality in voting rights.

Detail from a Clifford Berryman cartoon about woman suffrageWomen's Rights: Suffrage Discover an array of records related to the long quest for women to gain the vote as well as education resources, articles, and blog posts.


Records of Rights selected documents


Records of Rights presents records in the National Archives that document the ongoing struggle of Americans to define, attain, and protect their rights

Rightfully Hers exhibit logo



Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote highlights the struggle of diverse activists throughout U.S. history to secure voting rights for all American women.

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Selected Records in the National Archives Catalog

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