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Lesson 21: How does the Constitution protect your right to vote?


civil rights movement  In the United States during the 1950s and 1960s, people organized to demand that the federal government protect the rights of African Americans and other minorities. People worked together to change unfair laws. They gave speeches, marched in the streets, and participated in boycotts.

grandfather clause  The law stated that a person could vote if his grandfather had been allowed to vote. It made it possible for white people who could not pass a literacy test to vote because their grandfathers had the right to vote. It also made it impossible for African Americans to vote because their grandfathers had not been allowed to vote.

literacy test  Tests given to people to prove they are able to read and write. These tests were used in the South to keep African Americans from voting.

Nineteenth Amendment  Added to the Constitution in 1920, it gave women the right to vote.

poll tax  A tax that voters in many states had to pay before they could vote.

Twenty-fourth Amendment  It states that the right to vote in a national election shall not be denied because a person fails to pay a poll tax or any other tax.

Twenty-sixth Amendment  It gave citizens eighteen years of age or older the right to vote in all elections.