September 21, 2020

Current Barriers to Voting: online event presented by Forbes Library

Current Barriers to Voting: online event presented by Forbes Library

Date(s) - Monday, September 21, 2020
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Add to Calendar
iCal | Google Calendar

WHAT: Current Barriers to Voting, third event in online series The Right To Vote: Past, Present, Future.
WHEN: September 21 7:00 PM on Zoom
WHERE: Please preregister at

This year, Forbes Library is presenting a series of scholar-led public discussions about voting in America. Each event in The Right to Vote: Past, Present, Future starts with a presentation by a panel of speakers, followed by group discussion. Forbes Library received support for the series through “The Vote: A Statewide Conversation About Voting Rights,” a special initiative of Mass Humanities that includes organizations around the state.

The third event will focus on current barriers to voting, such as incarceration, accessibility, ID requirements, gerrymandering, COVID-19 and other present-day challenges.

Four speakers will present historical context and guide discussion. The presenters are:

David Daley, author of Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy

Lois Ahrens, founder of the Real Cost of Prisons Project

Lindsay Sabadosa, Massachusetts Representative, 1st Hampshire District

Dr. Kathleen Banks Nutter, historian, independent scholar (Moderator)

Registration is required for this event.

The final event in the series,The Youth Vote, will take place in October (date TBA)

All events are free and open to the public. Details can be found at

This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About “The Vote” – Mass Humanities

“The Vote” commemorates the centennial of the 19th Amendment through grants to 17 Massachusetts organizations. Through public events, workshops for educators, museum exhibitions and new research, “The Vote” provides Massachusetts residents with free opportunities to consider issues including women’s suffrage, the Civil Rights movement, voter suppression, civics education, and teen voting.

The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declared that the right to vote could not be denied on the basis of a person’s sex. Ratified in 1920, it marked a major victory in the women’s movement by extending the vote to women. But with racism and xenophobia on the rise in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many women of color, like their menfolk, still could not vote. Poll taxes and literacy tests effectively barred many African Americans from voting, especially in the South, and Native Americans in 1920 could gain the right to vote only by severing their ties to their tribes. Many states had passed laws making it illegal for noncitizens to vote, and Chinese Americans were barred from citizenship. Clearly the ratification of the 19th Amendment represents a complicated moment in our nation’s history, one that warrants thoughtful reflection on how to commemorate it.

The year 2020 arrives at another pivotal period in our nation’s electoral history. Some states are considering extending the franchise to felons and younger teens, while others have increased the hurdles to voting. As voting rights, voter fraud, and electoral security are being debated across the country, the humanities offer essential resources for deepening our understanding of this moment.