What does Voting change? Here are a few things from history

Check out how voting access impacted laws and lives

Jessica Bordelon Mashael
5 min readMar 31, 2024

Within just a few years of equal access to voting, we gained laws that protect the rights of all people to 1. Fair housing, 2. Fair employment and business opportunity, 3. Fair access to finance and banking and much more!

Here’s real quick- how we got there. (See end for the caveat)

White Men

It was not until 1856 that almost all white men were allowed to vote, but no other groups could in all states. Only a few states permitted free black men to vote but their voting access was often overturned. (see below for the timeline.)

Black Men

All Black men could legally vote by 1870. (though some states required the passing of ridiculous literacy tests — click HERE for an example)

All Women

Women of all heritages could legally vote by 1919. (but again Black men and women, Hispanic and Indigenous and any non-white person in Jim Crow states still had to “pass” those literacy tests)

Open Access to Voting — Voting Rights Act of 1965

This is the one that changed it all! Now, after 1965, it was illegal to place limits or barriers on any group or individual’s voting access and rights. No more tests , no more property ownership, no more limits because of gender or race or religion or anything. (see the bottom of this article for my caveats)

How did voting access impact laws and lives?

Example 1

Black men are allowed to vote by 1870 (in some cases). By 1895, 25 years later, the discussion about equity and segregation was to a boiling point and we see this in the Plessy v Ferguson decision about “separate but equal.” (Click HERE to read the quick summary of the case.)

Example 2

Once all women and men had access to voting, we start to see sweeping policy change. This is how it went down just a few years after the 1965 Voting Rights Act was made law.

1968 Fair Housing Act — The 1968 Act expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, (and as amended) handicap and family status. Click HERE to see the details.

1973- 1974 — Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Equal Credit Opportunity Act — Prohibits discrimination by any creditor, card issuer or other person against any person on account of sex or marital status in connection with approval or denial of credit. Click HERE.

Fair Credit Reporting Act- provided consumers protections from unfair credit reporting, charges and provided protections for poor service or quality, etc. Click HERE.

Where are we at today in 2024?

We now have access to business and employment opportunity that we were blocked from in the past. We now have access to purchasing and benefitting from property more freely. We now have protections in place to ensure we can take someone to court when they mistreat us.

The r*cists are still around.

There are surely fewer of them now that many people clearly see the benefits and justice of allowing everyone freedom. I mean d*mn, there is proven evidence of improved quality of life the more equity a location has.

WE all benefit from a joyful and peaceful experience WHEN living in a community where everyone feels safe, and cozy in their skin, their religion, their sexuality and none of that is seen as a negative.

Those identities are just the facts of who that person is. We are all people, living a life, spending time with family, enjoying our holidays and traditions, we all need healthcare, housing, security and education — and the presence of others is not a threat to that.

So in 2024 — what we need to do is HONOR TF out of the relentless way our ancestors persisted to get these rights!!!

At a bare minimum — vote.

Participate in the journey toward progress. Join our ancestors in this journey forward.

and that’s where I'm gonna end this one because that's the point of this article — it was access to voting that came just before all the IMPROVEMENTS we so desperately needed to attain a more just society.

If we don’t vote in 2024 — there’s no guarantee we'll get the chance again.

That’s not hyperbole or a conspiracy theory. Since 2020, that specific oppressive group known as MAGA has done nothing but take a big eraser to our rights and freedoms- — one after the other.

Participate while you can-- VOTE.

— —

For more details on how voting rights changed over the years, this Wikipedia article does a great job of simplifying each change: Click HERE

Caveat 1

The laws are just one half of the gain needed. It took years to see change nationwide and of course, there remain some who want to bring us back to that time. BUT — recognize that due to these laws, the previous freedom they had to be b*ttheads, is removed. They can and should face punishment for trying to negatively impact the lives of others.

Caveat 2

The voting rights act also means —It is illegal to make it more difficult by not allowing water or music or chairs for those who cannot stand in lines. Let’s be clear that in 2020 and now in 2024- some folks are trying to place barriers.



Jessica Bordelon Mashael

I am all the stuff of Millenials — Multitasker, Hustler, Unapologetic, Humanitarian. I write about Growth: wealth, relationships, spirituality and more. :-)