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Published April 20, 2020

Watch this special webinar with three experts on the history of early voting.

Don DeBats, who is teaching American Studies at Flinders University in Australia this semester, is researching and analyzing data from “out-loud,” viva voce records found in rare historical documents to illustrate the individual voting patterns of African American men during their first elections 150 years ago—on April 25, 1870. The data will ultimately go public via a  “First Vote” website hosted at the University of Virginia. DeBats’ work over the years has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Sarah John is the manager of the First Vote project. She has a Ph.D. from Flinders University in Australia and has published on election systems and political history. In recent years, she has managed research at D.C. area nonprofits, including the Sunlight Foundation, FairVote, and the Legal Services Corporation.

Morgan Tompkins is a senior at the College of William & Mary, has been a research assistant on the First Vote project for several years. Her support in this project has come in the form of poll and census data entry, statistical analysis, and GIS analysis in Todd and Garrard counties in the late 19th century.


This webinar originally aired April 24, 2020.

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Vanessa Adkins, right, is apprenticing under her cousin Jessica Canaday Stewart learning the finer points of traditional Chickahominy dancing. Photos taken at the Fall Festival and Pow Wow in Charles City on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012.

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