Although voting rights may seem to be axiomatic in the modern world, the topic through the lens of history reveals its complexity. Primarily, it becomes apparent that the current situation did not exist originally and is the result of a quite prolonged and difficult way of change. It is unreasonable, however, to consider it the final point, as society continues to develop, and this process is not linear. Simply stated, there is always a probability of further transformations that will not necessarily be for the best, for which reason removing the emphasis on human rights, including that to vote, hardly is an appropriate decision. The social lens, therefore, means exploring the shifts that happen in society, notably their nature, origin, and influence on the sphere of rights.
It is quite natural, actually, that the history of the formation of democracy has multiple examples of discrimination. Thus, about a century ago, certain categories of Americans were facing legal and/or bureaucratic obstacles to voting, predominantly in the South. Among them were the poor, both black and white, and the illiterate, in which group the black prevailed (Moore, 2021). The discontent with such inequality had accumulated until 1964 when a historic election campaign occurred in Alabama.
The indignation at the dramatic underrepresentation of black voters resulted in an outbreak of protests that eventually made the government approve the Voting Rights Act. It “repealed literacy tests and other devices that had been used as a means of suppressing” and has undergone several extensions since then (Yang, 2019, p. 21). That was, however, not sufficient for reaching a consensus on access to ballots; thus, a range of states still have restrictions for prisoners, who do not regain their voting rights even after release. Solving such issues requires a good understanding of the reasons for negative attitudes to certain groups of people and, consequently, the directions for development. This is where the historical and social perspectives actually overlap.
Moore, W. V. (2019). Voting Rights Act of 1965. In Salem Press Encyclopedia.
Yang, E. (2021). Ensuring access to the ballot box. Insights on Law & Society, 20(1), 20-25.