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On 100th Anniversary of 19th Amendment, ACLU Fighting Disenfranchisement

The 2020 presidential election has been wrought with uncertainty and political bickering over how to safely and fairly conduct one of the most complicated voting operations in our nation’s history. At the same time, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is calling for a concerted effort to fight the disenfranchisement of women they claim is still going on 100 years after the passage of the 19th Amendment.

vote 1319435 640 smallAugust marked 100 years to the month since the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, became law. According to the ACLU, the amendment represented the largest voting rights expansion in U.S. history. They warn, however, “not all women got the right to vote in 1920.”

“To this day, women who are people of color, transgender, incarcerated or formerly incarcerated, or have disabilities continue to face barriers to voting, along with other marginalized groups,” said the advocacy group. “We have more work to do to ensure that all women—and all people, regardless of gender identity—are able to exercise their voting rights.”

Even after the amendment, the ACLU points out, Black women continued to be stifled at the ballot box by Jim Crow-era restrictions, like literacy tests and poll taxes. Native Americans were denied voting rights in some states up until the 1960s and Asian American immigrant women couldn’t vote until naturalization restrictions were lifted in 1952. “Through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Congress took action to ensure that communities of color were able to register to vote, cast their ballots, and elect representatives of their choice. However, relics of the Jim Crow era persist in our legal and electoral systems,” according to the ACLU.


Andy Richter @AndyRichter Sep 1

"It's pretty wild there's a national poll worker shortage when it's a PAID gig. Without poll workers, fewer votes are cast and counted. If you're over 16 and want to do something about our current political nightmare, #DemocracyIsHiring."

Further, the group noted, it has so far launched 20 separate lawsuits across the U.S. aimed at safeguarding voting rights and expanding access to mail-in voting options. “We have initiated lawsuits across the country… to expand access to voting by mail to ensure that voters can vote safely from their homes, protect themselves and the public at large, and minimize the risk COVID-19 transmission while exercising the fundamental right to vote,” according to the group.

Additionally, the American Bar Association (ABA) has also made its own call to help ensure a smooth election as the group is actively seeking lawyers to sign up as poll workers. The ABA has issued a “Rally Cry” alongside the National Association of State Election Directors and National Association of Secretaries of State deemed the “Poll Worker, Esq. Initiative” encouraging legal professionals and law students to assist during the November election.

“Serving as a poll worker is integral to assuring a free and fair election this November, and lawyers are especially suited to help,” said ABA President Patricia Lee Refo, in a statement. “With the added obstacle of a pandemic this year, finding people who are at lower risk to assist as poll workers is even more important. This is an opportunity for lawyers, and soon-to-be lawyers, to step up and serve.”

Interested individuals can visit and use the “Become a Poll Worker” tab for information about serving, according to the ABA.

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