THIS BROADCAST EXPLORES one of the most basic questions facing our democracy: who may participate? In Segment 1, you'll hear a fascinating history of the much-contested right to vote in America: from slaves freed after the Civil War, to women's suffrage, to the civil rights movement. Included is the moving first-person story of a young woman who participated in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer project for voter registration of African Americans.

Segment 2 presents a diversity of voices and views on today's debates over whether voters should be required to show ID at the polls. Do these rules help to ensure honest elections — or is their effect to suppress minority voting? A raft of 2016 federal court cases have now weighed in on this important question. Why were some Arizona primary voters forced to wait five hours in line to cast ballots? And we consider whether people who've committed felonies should be allowed to vote, after serving their time.

Listen now to both half-hour segments:
Segment 1
Segment 2
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Set of historical photos LBJ Signing
Photo ID required?


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Voices you will hear

Funded by: The Park Foundation, the Humankind Program Fund and
the S-C Group, whose charitable resources include FJC, a foundation of donor-advised funds.

Audio engineer: Antonio Oliart-Ros. Associate Producers Marc Kilstein, Ken Rogers, David Cruz.
Webmaster Brian K. Johnson. Special thanks to: Lisa Mullins, Thomas Royal, Cathy Graham.

Photo Credits: Library of Congress, Federal Bureau of Investigation, LBJ Presidential Library, "Voting at Walker Senior Center" by Jenni Konrad:,
"Voter ID" by NOWCastSA: