Lessons learned about inequality and protecting the U.S. voter

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To the Editor: 

On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, recognizing women’s right to vote, was certified into law. In 1973, the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.

Now, on August 26, 2021, to commemorate this historical milestone in women voter rights and to celebrate equality for all women, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum will be lighting its building from 7 pm until midnight in the colors of the suffrage movement: purple, white, and (sunflower) gold.

The League of Women Voters began its mission to empower and educate women decades before the ratification of the 19th Amendment. This mission, which includes working to assist all women to use their voice as they vote, became known in history as the women’s suffrage movement. The lessons learned about inequality through that movement by so many women across cultures, economics, education, and race continue today.   

Facing all of us today across our nation, not just women, but all citizens, is the threat to equality for the U.S. voter, which is a threat to our democracy. 

We must fight to increase voters’ access to the polls, including expanding early voting and absentee voting, and to make automatic and online voter registration more accessible and available. All this can be accomplished while continuing to keep our elections secure.

We must fight against partisan and racial gerrymandering and congressional redistricting that strips rights away from U.S. voters.

Our democracy depends on each of us standing up to and calling out voter suppression — not just to support women’s equality and rights, but to protect the rights of all U.S. Voters.

Kathy Laskowski

Deborah Medders

League of Women Voters, Martha’s Vineyard