National Organization for Women Celebrates Women's Equality Day
Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill

August 26, 2011

Today we celebrate the anniversary of Women's Equality Day, in honor of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote. It took nearly 150 years for the women of this country to win the right to vote -- a right that was originally denied us by the founding fathers of our nation. And it wasn't until 45 years later, under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, when women of color won full voting rights.

Yet in the 21st century, our voting rights are under attack by conservative state legislatures. According to Campus Progress, seven states now mandate voters to produce a photo ID at the polls, up from just two in 2008. These requirements make it more difficult for women, seniors, low-income people and especially people of color to cast their ballot. As many as 32 million women of voting age do not have documentation with their current legal name.

NOW is outraged that women, who fought so hard for suffrage and particularly women of color, who were the last to secure that right, could now be the first to lose it. These laws could deeply impact women at a time when we need to stop the right-wing from continuing to wage its war on women. Simply put, we need more women at the polls in 2012 to elect leaders who will stand up for our rights.


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