The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

October 24, 2012

3 days left to register to vote

— Our 19th and 20th centuries sisters would most likely be thrilled to see there are many more women than men registered to vote in Limestone County.

Lee Liveoak, chairman of the Limestone County Board of Voter Registrars, said Tuesday there are 49,413 people registered to vote in Limestone County. Of those, 26,806 are women and 22,571 are men, a difference of 4,235. (Some voters failed to identify themselves by either sex when registering.)

Of the total registered voters in Limestone — a total Liveoak believes will exceed a record 50,000 by week’s end  — 42,049 identified themselves as white and 5,825 identified themselves as black. A few thousand voters identified themselves as other races.

Although our feisty, female forbearers would be happy to see women were the registered majority, they would be dismayed to see that — just 92 years later — only a little over half of eligible voters actually turned out to vote in recent presidential elections.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, suffragettes seeking voter rights for women were harassed, ridiculed, jailed and even beaten for staging right-to-vote rallies. Many men of the day claimed women were too emotional or hysterical to exercise the judgment needed to vote. In reality, they didn’t want to share the decision-making power.

If you have not registered to vote or you typically find an excuse not to exercise the franchise — whether you are a woman or a man —try to remember that people used to fight to get the right to cast a ballot.

In the United States,  woman over age 21 were allowed to vote in Wyoming beginning in 1869 and in Utah in 1870. Everyone else had to wait until the 20th century. The ratification of the 19th Amendment gave women across the nation the right to vote in the 1920 presidential election.

How to register to vote, vote absentee

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