Did Your Grandmother Have The Right To Vote?: With rights, comes responsibility

The ribbon worn by Gertrude Weil at the National Suffrage Convention in Washington, 1917.
Institution: North Carolina Office of Archives and History

According to an August USA Today/Suffolk University poll, there are 90 million Americans who “could turn a too-close-to-call race into a landslide for President Obama, but by definition they probably won’t.” The poll found that people who are eligible to vote but aren’t likely to do so “back Obama’s re-election over Republican Mitt Romney by more than 2-1.” Two-thirds of them say they are registered to vote. Eight in ten say the government plays an important role in their lives. Still, they cite a range of reasons they probably won’t vote, including not being excited about either candidate, feeling like their votes don’t matter, and that “nothing ever gets done, anyway.”


The polls show that it is very tight race, that a few votes could make the big difference. We have to do everything we can today to get out the vote. If you are a woman; if you care about women; if you have a wife, a daughter, a mother, a sister—you are especially responsible.

In 2008, only 65.7% of eligible women voters went to the polls. That’s not going to cut it this year. Look, it has been less than a hundred years that we women have even been allowed to vote in this country. If your grandmother was born before 1902, she couldn’t vote. It is way too soon to get complacent.

Did you know that some women in colonial America had the right to vote? State by state eliminated the right until in 1807 when New Jersey was the last state to revoke women’s voting rights. It was over 100 years—until the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920—before women won the right to vote in all elections.

Women now make up 51% of the U.S. population. We possess endless opportunities to determine the direction of our lives. According to the experts, women, especially independent suburban women, can play a critical role in determining who the next president of the United States will be. So I am not too proud to use a little Jewish guilt to get you out there.

So what are you waiting for? If you haven't already, GO VOTE.  Do it for your grandmother. Do it for her mother. And for goodness sake, do it for yourself.

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How to cite this page

Becker, Evelyn. "Did Your Grandmother Have The Right To Vote?: With rights, comes responsibility." 5 November 2012. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on December 7, 2022) <https://jwa.org/blog/did-your-grandmother-have-right-to-vote-with-rights-comes-responsibility>.

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