Today, Aug. 26, marks the 88th anniversary of the day that the U.S. Constitution was amended to grant women the right to vote. The nonpartisan League of Women Voters, formed when women were first granted the right to vote, will mark this occasion with reflections on how far we have come as well as optimism that this year will bring even more Americans into the democratic process.
"What better day than the anniversary of the 19th amendment, Women's Equality Day, to recognize the progress we have made on voting rights in the past 88 years," said Mary G. Wilson, national League president.
"This election year has seen an unprecedented rise in the number of new voters, especially women, young people and minorities, registering to vote," said League of Women Voters of Chautauqua County president Marcia Merrins. "There is a tremendous sense of excitement and energy driving this election."
"Right now the League is working with several organizations specifically dedicated to reaching out to these rising populations of new voters, making sure that everyone is prepared for Nov. 4. We will be distributing over 8,000 Take Me to Vote cards to children throughout Chautauqua County. On Oct. 14, we will be presenting a program on Local Government Consolidation with former Lt. Governor Stan Lundine. Also, there are two Meet the Candidates events. The first in on Oct. 27 at the Jackson Center in Jamestown at 7 p.m. The second is on Oct. 29 at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House in Fredonia at 7 p.m. Ask questions, get involved!"
More and more people are getting motivated and involved, something that League founders would be proud to see: an active, energized voting public fulfilling the destiny of the 19th amendment," said Marcia Merrins. "However, these achievements do not mark the end of our journey. In communities across the country, citizens still lack real representation by their elected officials and the policies they pass. It is only with the continued work of citizens and leaders, of all backgrounds, that this can change."
"Today, and especially this election year, is a time to celebrate the progress achieved by active citizens over the past eight decades. But it is also a time to look at what still needs to be done to make democracy work for all Americans. The League of Women Voters of Chautauqua County will continue to be the place where hands-on work leads to a better democracy for all."
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages. With more than 88 years of experience and 850 local and state affiliates, the League is one of America's most trusted grassroots organizations.