Skip to main content
America Votes: 1607-2012

Right, Responsibility and Privilege

San Bruno, California. Here a line is seen waiting to enter the building where they will cast their votes for Councilman from their precinct



“The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.” 

-Lyndon B. Johnson


The right to vote freely in elections is a cornerstone of modern American citizenship. Every year, Americans exercise this right, responsibility and privilege when they head to the polls to cast a ballot for their chosen candidates at the local, regional, state and national levels. Today, all American citizens age 18 and over are able to vote, but this was not always the case. The right to vote is a continual and contested process.  

The documents you will encounter in this exhibit illustrate the storied, surprising and occasionally strange history of American voting from historic suffrage movements to campaign strategies. 


Click here to view video clip 

 (1972 Primary Campaign Scenes)