Who Gets to Vote?

Library Reading and Discussion Program

“Who Gets to Vote?” is a new reading and discussion series available to Louisiana public libraries and community partners through the “Why it Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation” initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The series, developed by the LEH, is intended to engage members of the general public in conversations on the history of voting—and efforts to suppress the vote—in the United States. Sessions are intended to spark dialogue around issues and themes supported by the texts, including but not limited to:

  • the expansion of voting rights since the country’s founding
  • the electoral process
  • the women’s suffrage movement
  • historic and contemporary voter suppression practices
  • the Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • the 2013 Supreme Court decision that invalidated key portions of the Voting Rights Act
  • the disenfranchisement of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated Americans

Participants will engage in discussions led by scholar facilitators who encourage critical thinking about the subjects discussed.

Applications to host Who Gets to Vote? are now closed. The full schedule of programs taking place in spring 2021 is available here.


Site Selection and Program Details

The LEH’s Division of Public Programs staff will choose 10 geographically diverse sites to participate in the program. Each site will choose four of the six books in the series and host four discussion programs. A $2,700 subaward from the LEH will cover site coordination, facilitator honoraria, book purchases, and program publicity.


Allan J. Lichtman

The Embattled Vote in America: From the Founding to the Present

Harvard University Press, 2018


Lisa Tetrault

The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848–1898

University of North Carolina Press, 2017

Jeff Manza and Christopher Uggen

Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy

Oxford University Press, 2006

Using reading and discussion guides developed by humanities scholars and targeting up to 20 participants per session, communities will engage in thoughtful dialogue around book themes and consider the intersections between history and the present. All sessions will be facilitated by humanities scholars and can take place virtually or, should the public health environment allow, in person.

“Who Gets to Vote?” will culminate in a closing keynote public program presented by the LEH via Zoom webinar featuring one of the authors from the series in conversation with a Louisiana-based scholar.


Download the Who Gets to Vote? Program Overview


Download the Who Gets to Vote? Book Summaries and Author Bios


Contact LEH Grants Manager Christopher Robert at for more information.