Women’s Right to Vote, Brought to You by the Initiative Process
Today marks the 89th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. On August 26th, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was certified by then Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. The 19th Amendment prohibits the government from denying anyone the right to vote based on their sex; it gave women the right to vote.
The initiative process was very influential in this landmark change to our constitution. Throughout the 1800s and up until 1920 women and supporters of women’s suffrage circulated petitions and gathered signatures to try and change their government. Armed with the support of signed petitions they were able to make their voices heard and enact change. Congress proposed the 19th Amendment in the summer of 1919 and by August of 1920 it was ratified in 36 states. Citizens around the country made their voices heard by voting in their states.
While there were numerous forces that helped women gain the right to vote, the power of initiative process is clear. Citizens were able to gather signatures, vote and show that they wanted change. During the struggle for suffrage the League of Women Voters was one of the groups formed to help petition and push for this change, and it is still around today 89 years later, as a national grassroots organization.