On this day in 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, ending the long and hard-fought campaign to win women the right to vote. Today, we celebrate 100 years of women powering the vote. The ratification was the largest enfranchisement of voters in our nation’s history, and while today we are clear-eyed about its shortcomings—in particular, women of color were largely excluded from the movement that brought about the amendment—we commemorate this day and the foundation it has built for our modern democracy, where women not only cast ballots but see their names on the top of them.
Yesterday, our CEO Virginia Kase and I reflected on the ways in which the women’s vote has shaped our country. Over the last century, we’ve seen how women bring their stories to the ballot box, elevating issues like education, health care, reproductive rights, children’s rights, and wages for working women. Women have used the power of their vote to give voice to the issues they care about, and our country is better for it.
Yet it wasn’t until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that people of color could fully exercise their right to vote and our country began to reflect the values of all its people. And still today, we have a lot of work to ensure that every eligible voter can make their voice heard. Our CEO Virginia Kase spoke about this with the TODAY Show earlier this week.
That’s why I’m asking you today: will you honor the suffragists who fought to gain your right to vote by taking action this election? Carry on their legacy by committing to vote.
This election year is like no other. As you and your friends and family navigate your voting plan, the League is here to help you with our premier election information site, VOTE411.org. You can check your registration status, find out how to register to vote in your location, request an absentee ballot, research your candidates, and more.
We’ve been at this for 100 years, and we have learned a few things about how to engage in elections. Here are 100 ways for you to play a role in our democracy and get involved in this election.
So as we commemorate the amendment that expanded the vote for so many 100 years ago, we commit to defending the vote and expanding access to the ballot until every eligible person is fully enfranchised.