100 years ago, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. constitution was ratified, restoring women’s legal right to vote. Her Vote. Her Story. celebrates this significant milestone. Many women — and men —organized, protested, penned pamphlets, created politically-charged cookbooks, endured prison, and braved hunger strikes to support the cause. Did you know that local educator and Mercer girl Elizabeth “Lizzie” Ordway was a leader in Washington’s suffrage movement?
Her Vote. Her Story. shines a light on the national, state, and local impact including what it means for women today.
From my experience in local government and at the state level, women’s voices make a difference in the kinds of policies that are looked at and the kinds of discussions that occur.
Washington State Senator Christine Rolfes shared this perspective when interviewed for the exhibit. Rolfes is one of 10 Bainbridge Island women who shared their voting stories for this project.
Although a significant step towards equality, the 19th Amendment, when ratified, mostly benefited educated white women. Native Americans and many Asian Americans were denied citizenship, and therefore, women in those communities were not eligible to vote. Longstanding discriminatory practices, such as poll taxes and literary tests prevented women of color and uneducated women from exercising their legal right to vote. And so, in the century since the ratification of the Amendment, many more initiatives, laws, and amendments have been passed to assure equal access to voting for all women and men. In fact, the fight continues. Voting rights are largely decided by each state. While some states are expanding voting access, others are cutting back.
Please join us this spring for our eye-opening new exhibit. Dig into a suffrage timeline. Compare national, state, and local voting statistics. Delight in a suffrage quilt made on the Island. Make a campaign button. And before you go, be sure to share your voting story.