Voting rights in the United States
The issue of voting rights in the United States has been fought for throughout United States history. Eligibility to vote in the United States is established both in the US Constitution and its amendments, and by state law. In the absence of a specific federal law or constitutional provision, each state is given considerable discretion to establish qualifications for suffrage and candidacy within its own respective jurisdiction; in addition, states and lower level jurisdictions establish election systems, such as at-large or single member district elections for county councils or school boards.Voting rights have also been considered an issue related to election systems, particularly since passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1972, the US Supreme Court ruled that state legislatures had to redistrict every ten years based on census results; at that point, many had not redistricted for decades, leading to a rural bias in many states. In addition, the Supreme Court required that both houses of all state legislatures had to be based on election districts that were relatively equal in population size, under the ""one man, one vote"" principle. In other cases, particularly for county or municipal elections, at-large voting has been repeatedly challenged when found to dilute the voting power of significant minorities, and preventing them from electing a candidate of their choice - a violation of the Voting Rights Act. In the early 20th century, numerous cities established small commission forms of government in the belief that ""better government"" could result from the suppression of ward politics. Commissioners were elected by the majority of voters, excluding candidates who could not afford large campaigns or who appealed to a minority. Generally the solution to such violations has been to adopt single-member districts (SMDs) but alternative election systems, such as limited voting or cumulative voting, have also been used since the late 20th century to correct for dilution of voting power and enable minorities to elect candidates of their choice.