SUFFRAGE AND VOTING RIGHTS
The United States Constitution gave the right to vote to white, landowning men. It was another 131 years before women got the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. However, many women of color still couldn't vote then. Southern states used restrictive laws calling for poll taxes and literacy tests to stop people from voting. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was intended to correct these problems.
Voting problems still exist today, with states using voter suppression techniques to stop people from voting. These include purging voter rolls, limitations on early voting, disinformation, caging lists (using undelivered mail to purge voter rolls), id requirements, and gerrymandering (redistricting to ensure one party dominates). Each of us can educate ourselves on the issues involved and take action through any of the organizations listed below. Many organizations work on both the national and the state and local levels.
WHAT CAN I DO?
The historical women of We Did It For You! didn’t just stand by. If Susan B. Anthony, or Alice Paul, or Rosa Parks were alive today, what social cause would she be fighting for? It is time we all act. Each box above connects you to organizations involved in creating solutions. Check out these organizations.
GETTING OUT THE VOTE
The year 2020 is an election year. There has been a decline in voter turnout in many recent elections. Only 55% of women vote. Every vote counts! One vote plus one vote plus one vote add up. And remember, none of us is perfect. There is no such thing as the perfect candidate, although there surely are some more prepared than others to assume leadership of our country.
MAKE VOTING EASIER
It is important to make voting easier, more secure, and more accessible. Voting by mail is one such idea. Voting by paper ballot is important so that there is always a paper backup for all voting. We need to make sensible accommodations for the fact that Covid-19 will still be a factor in November, and external players will continue to lurk in the wings.
INCREASE VOTER REGISTRATION
We need to increase voter registration significantly. Some options are to permit same day registration, remove cumbersome voter identification requirements (as recently imposed in a number of states), and support voter registration drives.
Gerrymandering by either party is a perversion of the right to vote. With the completion of the Census of 2020, districts will be changed. There is a need to support equitable redistricting in 2021.