The 19th Amendment and Why Your Vote Matters

The 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s ratification into the Constitution comes next year, 2020. Not only is the amendment a very important milestone in history, but it also has had a great impact on modern voter turnout. Many women today see their right to vote as a responsibility. Women remember the history of the amendment and those in this country who fought for their right to vote and they exercise it.  

We can also see the 19th Amendment’s influence in modern elections. In the 2018 midterm elections, 55% of eligible women voted as opposed to 51.8% of eligible men. Women, especially young women, have also been voting at a higher percentage than men in every midterm since 1998 (Pew Research Center). As we can see, if the passage of the 19th Amendment had not occurred, voter turnout and election results would have been vastly different. However, voter turnout is not the only reflection of the amendment. Women hold more seats in Congress than ever before, with 25 in the Senate and 101 in the House of Representatives (Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics).

Women fought for the right to vote for decades, and that victory can be seen in the 19th Amendment. Its passage and ratification into the Constitution are reflections of not only the country’s changing attitudes, but also the determination and political activism of women. Its centennial in 2020 is a momentous occasion for the United States and should be celebrated as such. How has the 19th Amendment shaped American politics? One only has to look at the facts to see. 

Kentucky’s gubernatorial election is on Tuesday, November 5. Why should you vote in this election and all others? First, it is easier than ever to be an educated voter. With the internet, anyone can find any candidate’s views. It is also our responsibility as citizens to exercise that right. Make your voices heard, even if you feel like they won’t be. It can be easy to fall into the trap of saying, “My vote doesn’t count, so what’s the point?” But everyone’s vote counts. The history is too relevant to ignore. There are still people today trying to prevent others from voting. For example, even after the 19th Amendment, people of color faced barriers to voting, such as Jim Crow laws. The remnants and attitudes reflected in those laws still exist today, and everyone exercising their right to vote shows changing attitudes. Voting is also especially important for young people. At a time that our voices need to be heard more than ever, older generations still have much larger voter turnouts than young ones (U.S. Census Bureau). Voting allows us to have the representation we want to see in our home state and in Washington. Issues and representatives that are voted on today will have great impacts on our future. Voting is integral to our democracy, and it cannot be ignored. 

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