The League of Women Voters of Northern Valley celebrates Women’s Equality Day on August 26, 2020 and the advancements made towards achieving political, economic, and social equality. The date commemorates the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th constitutional Amendment, granting women the right to vote in the United States. During February of this year, Leagues nationwide also celebrated the organization's centennial birthday.
The League of Women Voters of Northern Valley, a chapter of the League of Women Voters (LWV), is a non-partisan, grassroots civic organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of public policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The LWV was an outgrowth of the 19th Amendment passed in 1920 giving women the right to vote. Today, the LWV operates at the state and local levels through more than 700 state and local Leagues in all 50 states and in Washington D.C., the Virgin Islands and Hong Kong.
Advocates for Women's Rights in New Jersey
New Jersey residents were integrally involved in advocating for women's rights and equality. In Bergen County, Susan B. Anthony visited and stayed with Tenafly resident Elizabeth Cady Stanton for long periods of time to write the History of Woman Suffrage. In 1880, Stanton tried unsuccessfully to vote at the polls in Tenafly. Similarly, Alice Paul from Paulsdale in Mount Laurel Township advocated for and fought to secure the passage of the 19th Amendment and wrote the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923. Women of color, including Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mary Church Terrell, Florence Spearing Randolph and others championed the suffrage movement and advocated for the 19th Amendment.
In observance of Women's Equality Day and the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the LWVNV outreached to libraries in the 29 communities it services to announce important historical milestones and observances in the suffrage movement with their patrons. These milestones included the ratification and certification of the 19th Amendment and Women's Equality Day.
On August 18, 1920, the state of Tennessee passed the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, bringing the total number of states needed to 36. This provided the required majority to ratify the amendment and extended universal suffrage to women. On August 26, 1920, U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed a proclamation officially certifying the 19th Amendment guaranteeing American women’s right to vote.
In 1971, New York Representative Bella Abzug advocated a bill in the U.S. Congress designating the August 26th date of certification as 'Women's Equality Day'. In 1973, the United State Congress designated August 26 as 'Women's Equality Day', an annual event observed nationwide.
LWVNV to Expand Voters Service Activities
This fall, the LWVNV plans to prepare voters for this election by expanding its Voters Service activities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the League's focus is to protect voting rights for all and ensure everyone can exercise their right to vote.
"This year, the League of Women Voters of Northern Valley marks Women’s Equality Day by asking residents to remember the hard work of those who came before us. Honor their legacy and prepare to vote in the General Election in New Jersey on November 3, 2020, said Joyce Luhrs, Vice President of Marketing, League of Women Voters of Northern Valley./p>
We want to ensure residents are registered to vote, know how they can vote, and have information about the candidates. Check your voter registration status. In New Jersey, the deadline to register to vote for the General Election is October 13. The League does not support or oppose candidates and is not affiliated with any political party."
To assist voters with making informed decisions in the election, the LWVNV's members from 29 municipalities in Bergen County will work to make democracy strong through voter registration drives, virtual educational forums, and local advocacy. The LWVNV's activities will include conducting voter registration drives, responding to citizens' requests to schedule local virtual Candidate Forums, and moderating virtual Candidate Forums.
Details about voting are available on the League's election website, www.vote11.org. The site provides information about the election process, new voting options, polling place locations and hours, candidates, absentee ballot and early voting options, registration deadlines, and requirements.
About The League of Women Voters of Northern Valley
The League of Women Voters of Northern Valley was founded in 1946 as the League of Women Voters of Closter. By 1964, it included 11 municipalities in the Northern Valley and was renamed the League of Women Voters of Northern Valley. Today, the chapter serves 29 municipalities.
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