Sept. 24, marks the seventh year that National Voter Registration Day has been recognized as a holiday.
Growing numbers of partners, including the League of Women Voters of Bucks County (LWVBC), use this occasion to highlight their ongoing efforts to help eligible voters participate in the democratic process.
This year also marks the 99th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which prohibits the denial of the right to vote based on sex.
During the 80 years prior to the ratification of the 19th Amendment, women campaigned at great cost to secure their right to vote. Suffragists were arrested during peaceful protests outside the White House in 1917 and were sent to prison where many suffered brutal treatment.
That same year, during a massive parade of an estimated 8,000 people calling for a constitutional amendment to grant women their right to vote, peaceful marchers were ridiculed, tripped and assaulted with 100 requiring hospitalization. Suffragists had worked for decades with a formidable anti-suffragist movement disparaging their efforts and working against them.
The League of Women Voters of the US (LWVUS) was formed in 1920 from existing suffrage organizations with a charge to help register women to vote.
Adopting a national position in 1970 to work for the protection of the right to vote for all citizens, the LWVUS worked fervently for the reauthorizations of the Voting Rights Amendments in the following years. The LWVUS was a lead organization in the creation of the National Voter Registration Act and a drafter of the Help America Vote Act.
Today the LWVUS and its state and local Leagues, such as the LWVBC have adopted the campaign Making Democracy Work, which includes voting rights as a core focus.
All eligible citizens can take advantage of this voting franchise for which so many fought by registering to vote before Oct. 7, the last day to register for the Municipal Election on Nov. 5. Visit the LWVUS’ website Vote411.org to register or check your registration status. Return to the site in mid-October when the nonpartisan voters’ guide with candidate-provided information goes live.
Voter registration events are being held during September and are posted on the LWVBC website, lwvbucks.org. Additional information on registering can be found at the official Pennsylvania website VotesPA.com and questions can be answered at the Bucks County Board of Elections at 215-348-6154.
The LWVBC encourages all eligible voters to commit to vote. As Carrie Chapman Catt, the founder of LWVUS, said in 1920, “Women have suffered agony of soul which you can never comprehend, that you and your daughters might inherit political freedom. That vote has been costly. Prize it.”