WASHINGTON, D.C. — One hundred years ago, on June 4th, 1919, Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment and sent it off to the states for ratification. The amendment is brief, simply stating: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
This hundredth year anniversary only marks the anniversary of the amendment’s passage. Women were still deprived of the right to vote as it took another year for the states to actually ratify the Nineteenth Amendment and even longer for it to be enforced. However, this day marks a milestone in the long struggle for women’s suffrage; a struggle that began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and one that is still a struggle for minority groups to this day.
As NOW celebrates this important anniversary, we recognize that not all women gained their right to vote at the same time. Black women faced Jim Crow laws and voter suppression efforts until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 enforced voters rights. Native American women were not considered citizens until 1924, and had to fight state by state for the right to vote, with New Mexico being the final state to guarantee their voting rights in 1962.
During this anniversary, NOW recognizes the significance of the right to vote. NOW works tirelessly with our grassroots activists to protect voting rights and to help citizens exercise their right to vote.Our members hold voter registration drives and we work closely with coalition partners to restore voting rights to felons who have served their sentence. We also serve as volunteers for the Election Protection hotline during election season.
The right to vote ensures that we all have a say in our country’s future. At NOW, we are committed to continuing the work started over 170 years ago and ensuring that the voting rights of all citizens continues to be protected.