On August 26, 2020, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the certification on the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment states that the right to vote cannot be denied on account of a citizen’s sex. It gave 26 million American women the right to vote. Unfortunately, some women were still denied the vote because of their race or ethnicity. So this was an important beginning, but much more needed to be done.
In 1973, U.S. Congresswoman Bella Abzug introduced a resolution to make August 26 Women’s Equality Day. Her resolution was passed by Congress on August 16, 1973. Every year since then, each U.S. President has proclaimed August 26 as Women’s Equality Day, honoring women’s voting rights and recognizing that work toward full equality for women is progressing, but not yet complete.
In August 2020, the Oregon Women’s History Consortium(OWHC) is encouraging Oregonians to decorate their sidewalks and stairs. In 1913, sidewalk chalk messages were used by women demanding the right to vote. In 2020, we celebrate the many times when our nation has expanded the right to vote to more and more citizens. We love this idea for having fun while highlighting the importance of the vote! #ChalkTheVoteOR
This fun project fits the LWV mission!
Defending voting rights is central to the mission of the League of Women Voters: “Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.” Our democracy depends on voter participation! Let’s continue the fight to expand the right to vote and to combat voter suppression. We hope you will also speak out for voting rights with chalk messages on your sidewalk.
As the OWHC notes:
The year 2020 is the:
150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment (removed race, color or prior servitude from denying voting rights)
100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment (removed sex from denying voting rights)
56th anniversary of the 24th Amendment (ended the poll tax)
55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (prohibited racial discrimination in voting)
49thanniversary of the 26th Amendment: right to vote cannot be denied on account of age for those 18 or older (This amendment has roots in an Oregon legal case, Oregon v. Mitchell, 1970)
The week for writing chalk messages is August 23-29th. August 26th is the day the 19th Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution. To learn more about #ChalktheVoteOR, click here.
The League of Women Voters of the U.S. published this essay on reasons to trust vote by mail. It was written by the co-president of the LWV of Johnson County, Kansas. Below are summaries of her five reasons. Click here to read the whole article.
Americans have voted by mail since the Civil War! (And all Oregon elections have been by mail since 1999.)
It is difficult for someone to vote another person’s ballot. Every signature is checked to make sure it matches the signature of a registered voter.
The mailing, delivery, processing and counting of mail-in ballots are protected by security measures.
Vote-by-mail does not favor any party over another. Research has shown that making voting easier helps all voters.
Research shows that voter fraud is very rare.
Watch our video showing all the ways we protect mail-in voting in Oregon.
Speaking out again for better community oversight of police
The Portland League has sent testimony to the City Council, supporting Commissioner Hardesty’s proposed charter amendment on police oversight. The City Council will discuss this proposal on Wednesday, July 29, at 3:30.
Although we recognize that it will take more than a charter change, this proposal has the potential to bring us much closer to the type of system envisioned by the majority of Mayor Katz’s workgroup in 2000. That workgroup called for an independent civilian agency guided by a community board with the power to investigate complaints of police misconduct, compel officer testimony, and make policy recommendations to the police bureau and city council.
In addition, the League’s testimony recommends building on the successful parts of our current oversight system. We also believe that improving the current system requires input from the community.