Wednesday, August 18, 2010

90th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage

American women won the right to vote 90 years ago today. Although we will not celebrate Women’s Suffrage Day until next week, August 18 was the date on which the last vote required to ratify the amendment was received.

By August 1920, Congress had already passed the 19th Amendment, and 35 states had ratified it. However, one more state needed to ratify the amendment in order to amend the Constitution.

In the Tennessee House, the vote was tied and deadlocked. Finally, on the third round of voting, the youngest state legislator changed his mind. He had just received a letter from his mother, urging him to do the right thing. Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, ensuring that women would have the right to vote.

In recent elections, voter turnout rates for women have equaled or exceeded voter turnout rates for men. Of the total voting age population:

• In 2004, 60.1% of women and 56.3% of men voted.
That's 67.3 million women and 58.5 million men - a difference of 8.8 million.

• In 2000, 56.2% of women and 53.1% of men voted.
That's 59.3 million women and 51.5 million men - a difference of 7.8 million.

• In 1996, 55.5% of women and 52.8% of men voted.
That's 56.1 million women and 48.9 million men - a difference of 7.2 million.

Read more about women’s turnout.

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