Sunday, August 18 marked the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the US constitution. 1920. Eighty-three years. Thank you, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and untold numbers of women who lobbied, fought, and died for women’s right to vote in the US.
So how are we doing exercising our right to vote? According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers: “The number of female voters has exceeded the number of male voters in every presidential election since 1964.” Sounds good, right? Well, yes, until you consider what percentage of Americans vote. In the 2008 presidential elections (the last year of data offered by the Center), 60.4% of women and 55.7% of men voted. This was 2008. Remember 2008? This was the year that Barack Obama was first elected President. Turnout was larger than normal. And yet, less than 60% of Americans who could vote did vote.
With the recent ruling on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and restrictive voting laws being enacted in many states, I suspect that the number of Americans voting will decline. Voting is a right, for women and men, not a privilege for a few. And as a right, it appears it will always need to be defended.