It has been widely recognized, at least since the Selma march during the civil rights movement, that the interests of black citizens and other minorities are directly connected to their capacity to participate in the political process and to public policies that protect that option. The clear message of the Selma demonstration was that, for a people constrained by a broad range of oppressive racist structures, voting is a basic resource for protecting all other rights. Further, it was clear that those who control power will restrict access to the ballot as their main line of defense.


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