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Fifteenth Amendment Protection

All citizens are guaranteed the right to vote through the Fifteenth Amendment. This amendment, ratified in 1870, was designed to eradicate efforts to disenfranchise blacks during Reconstruction following the Civil War. The Supreme Court limited the application of this amendment in several cases decided between 1876 and 1903, and the Court has traditionally placed much more weight on the Fourteenth Amendment than the Fifteenth Amendment with respect to racial discrimination. This tendency applies even in cases involving allegations of infringement on the right to vote. The most significant exception was the case of Smith v. Allwright in 1944, in which the Supreme Court invalidated an election on the basis of Fifteenth Amendment protections.

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