Intersectionality and Voting Rights

Intersectionality and Voting Rights

By Celeste Montoya, University of Colorado Boulder

One hundred years after ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, the ability of women to effectively exercise the right to vote is far from guaranteed. Although 1920 may mark the historical moment when women’s suffrage was added to the Constitution, the past century has been rife with obstacles preventing many women, particularly women of color, from exercising their right to vote. Scholars have noted that for these women, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 was pivotal in more fully securing the right to vote (Hewitt 2010; Junn and Brown 2008; Montoya 2018; Smooth 2006). With a resurgence in voter-suppression efforts and a US Supreme Court ruling that weakened the VRA, voting rights again are imperiled. Although the role of race and class justifiably have been placed at the center of analysis, little attention has been given to the potential gendered considerations. This article argues that gender is still a salient part of the story, and intersectional analysis is necessary for a more thorough understanding of the impact that restrictive laws might have in order to counter them.

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