While it could take some planning to vote safely in a Covid-19 world, here are some tips:
- Vote early in person if your state offers that option.
- Use a ballot drop box if possible.
- Drop off your ballot at an election office or polling place.
- Organize a community ballot collection if you live in a state that permits it.
One hundred years ago today, women in the U.S. were granted the right to vote, bringing our nation into closer alignment with the spirit of its founding principles: that all are created equal, and that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are fundamental rights. (Although it would take the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 to ensure the broader voter participation by women of color.)
This right to vote—or suffrage—was hard-won. It took nearly 100 years of women’s suffrage protests before Congress would ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on Aug. 18, 1920. A quick review of the long and rocky road to suffrage:
- Suffrage’s earliest activists found their way to the cause through the abolition movement in the 1830s.
- Indignant over their treatment at the World Anti-Slavery Convention in 1840, Elizabeth Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the first U.S. women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls, N.Y., eight years later.
- Susan B. Anthony and 15 other women voted illegally in the presidential election of 1872. All were arrested, but only Anthony was tried. She was found guilty of breaking the 14th amendment, which gave any man the right to vote. She refused to pay the $100 penalty, but the judge looked the other way at the risk her case would reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
Susan B. Anthony’s boldness gave momentum to the women’s suffrage movement, paving the way for eventual passage of the 19th Amendment. Unfortunately, she didn’t live to see it. It came 14 years after her death.
With the U.S. presidential election just a few months away, American women can now choose to vote for a woman as vice president, if they are so inclined. Democrat Kamala Harris is viewed by Wall Street as a moderate willing to work to rebuild the economy in the wake of Covid-19. She will be the third woman and first woman of color to be nominated as the vice presidential candidate for a major party. Four years ago, Democrat Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be a major-party presidential candidate.
The rise in the number of women running for, and winning, elective office reflects the strides made over the course of the past 100 years. Consider that:
- In 2020, 23.7% of members of Congress are women, including 26 Senators and 101 House members
- The third-highest ranking elected officer in our country, the Speaker of the House, is a woman—Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California
- California and New York have sent more women to Congress than any other states
- In 2018, 102 women won their House races, setting a new record
- That record could prove short-lived, as a record number of women are running for Congress this year
As a responsible investing asset manager, we salute the pioneering women who pressed and persevered to ensure that American women have the right to vote. These amazing women set the stage for women to have a greater voice not only the political process, but in colleges and universities, in amateur and professional athletics and in the asset management world where I work today. The best way to honor and celebrate the 19th Amendment Centennial is to exercise your right to vote in November.