"Voting Rights for Women: Past, Present, & Future"
Keynote speaker, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes
Free and open to the public
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 26, 2017
829 W. Main Street in Louisville
On August 26, 2020, America will celebrate the centennial of woman’s suffrage. Many people simply do not know that the right to vote, a fundamental part of democracy, was denied to half the population until 1920. After 72 years, from Seneca Falls, NY in 1848 when Elizabeth Cady Stanton first publicly called for women to have the right to vote in the Declaration of Sentiments, to the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920, the fiercely fought struggle to win the right to vote finally succeeded. Antislavery activists, temperance advocates, suffrage militants, labor organizers, club women, early feminists and countless others joined together in a relentless battle that included campaign rallies, referenda, marches and imprisonments, along with classic political lobbying and negotiation.
Suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt, who led the National American Woman Suffrage Association in the final phase of the journey, stated “Hundreds of women gave the accumulated possibilities of an entire lifetime, thousands gave years of their lives, hundreds of thousands gave constant interest and such aid as they could. It was a continuous, seemingly endless chain of activity. Young suffragists who helped forge the last links of that chain were not born when it began. Old suffragists who forged the first links were dead when it ended.”
Regardless of the success of passing the suffrage amendment now there are efforts to suppress voting rights of millions of Americans by claiming voter fraud. The Brennan Center for Justice reports this year there have been 46 bills introduced in 21 states that are designed to limit registration and access to the ballot box. However, according to Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes who also serves as Chair of the State Board of Elections, the biggest election problem facing Kentucky is voter turnout. It is interesting to note the status of the voting of Kentucky registered voters in the last two elections. In the 2015 general election 29.9% of women voted and 31.3 % of men, in the 2016 general election 60.3% of women voted compared to 57.8%. of men. Efforts to eliminate voter suppression and increase voter turnout is crucial in building a stronger democracy.
The League of Women Voters along with twenty-one other women's, civil rights and other community organizations are sponsoring a Women's Equality Day free event on Saturday, August 26th at 10:00 am at the Frazier History Museum. The event will highlight the history of women winning the right to vote, the status of those rights today, and a look to the future. The Declaration of Sentiments of 1848 was patterned after the Declaration of Independence. However, we know the Declaration of Independence was lacking as it didn't include women or people of color. Now, the Declaration of Sentiments needs updating: that the rights of women and all voters are at risk from voter suppression efforts, failure to receive equal pay for equal work, diminishment of healthcare, continued discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin and gender, continued inequality in all areas of American life, and the failure to support public education, the foundation for an informed citizenry.
The 97th Anniversary of the 19th amendment is a rallying cry for all voters to protect their most precious right: voting for those that will govern us and protect the rights we have and provide the equality promised by our history.
President, League of Women Voters of Louisville
Past President, League of Women Voters of Louisville
League of Women Voters of Louisville (502) 895-5218