Voting: It’s Not Just a Right, It’s a Responsibility

The story of women finally gaining the right to vote didn’t end with the passage of the 19th Amendment. It still had to be ratified by two-thirds of the states.

Though the amendment passed, it still faced a fight to become the law of the line. Tennessee Representative Harry T. Burns with some education from his mother was convinced to give the vote of approval, for example.

But on Nov. 2, 1920 more than 8 million women voted. However, 64 years later, Mississippi became the last state to ratify the amendment in 1984 — which is shocking, considering how non-controversial a woman’s right to vote was in 1984!

Interesting facts on women voting in the USA:

  • In 1797, New Jersey temporarily gave unwed women the right to vote. In 1807 the changed it to “Free white men”
  • 1869 Wyoming led the charge for suffrage
  • In 1878 the 19th Amendment was first proposed and was defeated
  • In 1917 suffrage advocates were the first to picket protest the White House
  • FDR was the first president that had a mother eligible to vote

The deadline to register to vote in the state of Hawaii is October 10 — and if you haven’t, why not? The State of Hawaii’s web page (http://elections.hawaii.gov/) for elections provides information on volunteering, polling places and candidate reports. The League of Women Voters has a web page www.vote411.org that is a “one Stop Shopping” that provides nonpartisan information with both general and state-specific information.

AAUW’s page on voting and elections offers information regarding history, activities, and information on current elections. its Voter Education page offers information on the voting records of senators and representatives. The AAUW Action fund also offers guides that are nonpartisan and provide information on the positions of candidates for items such as equal pay and education.

Remember it is not just a right; it is a responsibility. Each vote counts and each vote must preserve the right to vote for our daughters, granddaughters and their daughters.

Vote informed!