Right to Vote

March 19, 1958

Report Outline
Coming Test of New Civil Rights Act
Franchise Limitations in United States
Obstruction of Negro Voting in South
Outlook for Expansion of Negro Vote

Coming Test of New Civil Rights Act

Negro Voting in Spring Primaries in South

Primaries and run-off primaries soon to be held in southern states are expected to afford an initial test of the efficacy of new federal tools to safeguard the right to vote. Candidates seeking party nominations for local, state, and federal offices will be chosen in these primaries, the first of which is to take place in Alabama on May 6. Because victory in the Democratic primaries is tantamount to election in many parts of the South, these preliminary contests will be closely scrutinized for indications of any unlawful interference with processes involved in exercise of the franchise.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and numerous Negro voter leagues have undertaken concerted campaigns to enlarge the Negro electorate in southern states. The executive secretary of the N.A.A.C.P., Roy Wilkins, has called this the association's “No. 1 project for the next three years.” At the same time, strong movements have been under way in several southern legislatures to tighten voter registration laws and make it more difficult to qualify for admission to the polls.

Attorney General William P. Rogers announced on Dec. 9 that the administration would not ask Congress for additional civil rights legislation in 1958. He said new recommendations would be withheld pending review by the Civil Rights Commission, a bipartisan study group set up under the Civil Rights Act of (Sept. 9) 1957. That law armed the Executive Branch with new powers and machinery to protect voting rights of citizens.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Voting Rights
Jun. 25, 2021  Voting Rights
Oct. 02, 2015  Young Voters
Feb. 21, 2014  Voting Controversies
May 18, 2012  Voter Rights
Sep. 15, 2006  Voting Controversies
Oct. 29, 2004  Voting Rights
Feb. 28, 1975  Minority Voting Rights
Apr. 18, 1962  Protection of Voting Rights
Mar. 19, 1958  Right to Vote
Feb. 24, 1954  Eighteen-Year-Old and Soldier Voting
Sep. 13, 1932  The Solid South and Political Sectionalism
Jun. 18, 1928  Voting and Non-Voting in Elections
Civil Rights: African Americans
Domestic Issues
Voting and Suffrage