MARQUETTE COUNTY — On February 14, 1920, the League of Women Voters was founded amidst the movement known as Women’s Suffrage. The 19th Amendment was passed in the summer of that year, finally granting women the right to vote in the United States. This year is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, as well as the centennial birthday of the League of Women Voters.
Women fought for the right to vote in this country for years before it was granted to them. Finally, on August 26, 1920, women were given the right to use their voice at the polls. However, this victory was not won easily.
“Part of our centennial message is recognizing the effort that it took for women to win the right to vote,” said Marquette County League of Women Voters President Darlene Allen. “It cost a great deal of time for women, women were jailed sometimes; they were certainly ridiculed for wanting the right to vote. So it was a long and hard battle. The message is that we need to be thankful for that and take advantage of that. So today, whenever elections come up, we want to remind people of that. Celebrating and looking at that history is a really nice way to say, ‘Hey, don’t take that vote for granted. Get out there and use it.'”
2020 is an election year, perhaps one of the most divisive in America’s history. Allen says that it is as important now as ever to get out to the polls.
“Without voting, our voices won’t be heard,” said Allen. “And voting actually is an opportunity to level the playing field, because everybody gets one vote. Everybody gets one say. And when you exercise that, it can really make a difference. When you don’t exercise your right to vote, there’s really no reason for politicians to listen to you. We believe that if everyone gets out there and votes, it will actually make a more representative community. Our leaders will represent our views and the needs that we have in our community. So we really think it’s important for people to get out and vote, because without it we really don’t have a voice.”
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization that offers voter registration education, candidate forums, and other events for women and men who want to learn more about and celebrate the Women’s Suffrage movement.
The League hosts monthly meetings as well for anyone interested in attending. They have seen much growth in their organization over the years, both nationally and locally. They hope that more and more people will get involved, particularly during this special double centennial year.