IMPORTANT DATES IN VOTING HISTORY
1787 The passage of the U.S. Constitution gives white male property owners age 21 and over the right to vote.
1807--1843 Series of acts that changed voting requirements so that all white men age 21 and older could vote.
1870--The 15th Amendment to the Constitution guaranteed the right to vote to all men that were 21 or older regardless of race or ethnic background.
1920--The 19th Amendment gave women age 21 and older the right to vote.
1964--The 24th Amendment made it illegal for states to charge a poll tax to voters.
1965--The Voting Rights Act authorized the federal government to take over registration of voters in areas where state officials had regularly prevented blacks and other minorities from registering to vote or casting their ballots through usage of literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and intimidation tactics. This act enforced provisions previously guaranteed in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments almost a century earlier.
1971--The 26th Amendment lowered the voting age across the nation to 18.
1982--The Voting Rights Act Amendments extended the right to vote guarantees given in the 1965 legislation. Further provisions for Americans with disabilities, voters not able to read and write, and those not fluent in English were added to insure their freedoms.
1993--The National Voter Registration Act (Motor Voter) expanded the opportunity for convenient voter registration for every person of voting age by increasing the number of active government agencies serving as registries. The departments of Safety, Health, Human Services, Mental Health and Retardation, and Veteran's Affairs are required to include voter registration applications with their own department's forms. Other government offices such as libraries, post offices, county clerk offices, and the Register of Deeds will also have voter forms available to the public.
1994--The Tennessee Early Voting Act replaced the previous absentee voting system used for the state. Tennesseeans now have a period of 15 days in which to vote.
2002--Help America Vote Act which requires mandatory changes and improvements in the electoral process to improve voting systems, to implement provisional voting, and to establish a statewide voter registration database.