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Happy Anniversary

This story was originally published by Electionline

 

Tomorrow the League of Women Voters of the United States celebrates 100 years of empowering voters and defending democracy.

Founded by suffragists on February 14, 1920, the League was established six months before the 19th Amendment was finally ratified.

Their mission at the time: to help the soon-to-be enfranchised 20 million American women exercise their right to vote. Ten decades later, we are active in all 50 states with more than 750 affiliates around the country.

But as we celebrate our organization’s milestone and commemorate the centennial of women’s voting rights this year, we acknowledge that not all women were able to exercise their Constitutional right to vote in in 1920. Native Americans as a whole were not even afforded full citizenship until 1924 and even then, some were not able to vote because that right was governed by state law. Women of color and women with limited education and income faced barriers at the polls in the form poll taxes, literacy tests, and other voter suppression efforts including, in some cases, violence.

Even today, too many eligible voters are excluded from the process through modern-day voter suppression efforts.

League participates in voting is people power project in Flint, Michigan.

Since the Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, we have seen an increase in attacks on the right to vote. Excessive voter roll purges, strict voter photo ID requirements, and cuts to early voting and same-day registration are just a few ways politicians have limited access at the polls.

Misinformation campaigns and unscrupulous actors on social media and other digital platforms add to voter confusion.

That’s why the League is still here.

Over the last century, we’ve fought to protect voters, establish fair redistricting processes, secure our elections, and provide equal access to the ballot—all while maintaining our commitment to nonpartisanship and fostering an informed electorate. In 2018, we reached 10 million voters through our voter registration activities, candidate debates and forums, and our election website, VOTE411.org. In 2020, we are positioned to build on that success as we ramp up our efforts to reach and inform voters.

As we enter our next century, we are building future leaders to carry this mission forward. Our members, staff, and volunteers are advancing and defending democracy through our organizing, advocacy, legislative, and litigation efforts. We invite those who share our passion for voting rights to join us. There is room for all at democracy’s table.

Today, we ask you to celebrate 100 years of Women Powering the Vote by participating in our Day of Action online or at one of more than 350 events happening around the country. Let’s stand in our power together, celebrating the women who came before us, and continue to build a stronger, more inclusive country where everyone can engage in our democracy.