Schneider Downs is celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. August 26 is Women’s Suffrage Day. Over the next few months, we will be publishing a series of Our Thoughts On articles (OTOs) focusing on women’s suffrage and community events celebrating ratification of the 19th Amendment and honoring those who participated in the 70-year struggle.
As a member of the SD Women’s Committee at Schneider Downs, I am excited to share some interesting highlights with everyone.
The passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920 was a huge accomplishment for American women. However, women did not turn out to vote en masse in their first election. Exit polls did not exist in 1920, but a survey sample of Chicago voters by the University of Chicago showed that the top reason that there was not a huge turnout of women voting in the 1920 presidential election was indifference to politics. In other areas of the country, state and local restrictions kept some women from being able to exercise their right to vote. Certainly, Black women faced discriminatory voting practices in the Jim Crow south, and Native Americans and Asian Americans had been denied citizenship, thereby denying their right to vote.
It took 60 years for women to turn out to vote in equal proportion to men. In 1980, 59.4% of voting-age women voted, in comparison to 59.1% of men.
Another interesting point is that prior to 1920, women had the right to vote in certain states. New Jersey was the first state to recognize some women’s right to vote in 1797, but that was reversed 10 years later. The territory of Wyoming next extended the right to vote to women in 1869 and retained the law when it became a state in 1890. Twenty states granted the right to vote to women prior to the passage of the 19th Amendment, including Ohio in 1917.
In 1848, the first women’s rights convention occurred in Seneca Falls, NY, where several resolutions were signed by those in attendance including a resolution for women to gain the right to vote. Though there was bad press at the time—in line with then-prevailing attitudes regarding “a woman’s place” in society, the convention was considered to be the beginning of the women’s rights movement. It took 72 years for women’s suffrage to be recognized on a national level, meaning that most in attendance did not live to see the 19th Amendment’s passage.
If you would like to learn more, please visit some of the references noted below. Also, if you are aware of another event happening in the Pittsburgh or Columbus area, please email us.
Helpful Voting Registration Information
Registering to Vote in Pennsylvania or Ohio – The deadline to register to vote is October 19 in Pennsylvania and October 5 in Ohio. Voter registration can be completed online (see links below) or by mail.
Voting by Mail – PENNSYLVANIA: If you plan on voting by mail-in ballot in Pennsylvania for the 2020 election, you must complete a quick application to get a mail-in ballot (see links below). The application for the mail-in ballot must be completed online or received in the county office by October 27. Then, a vote-by-mail ballot will be mailed to you. After you receive your vote-by-mail ballot, you will fill out the ballot with your votes, and then mail the completed ballot according to the instructions on the ballot. You may fill out and return your vote-by-mail ballot as soon as you receive it. Your completed vote-by-mail ballot must be received in your county election office by 8:00 PM on 11/03/2020. A late application will not be accepted, even if it was postmarked before the deadline.
Voting by Mail – OHIO: If you plan on voting by mail-in ballot in Ohio for the 2020 election, you must complete an application to get a mail-in ballot (see links below). That application must be received by October 31.
You’ve heard our thoughts… We’d like to hear yours
The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].
Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.