Democratic Women’s Caucus Hosted Virtual Discussion: The Power of Women’s Right to Vote: Our History & Future
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the Democratic Women’s Caucus (DWC) Co-Chairs Reps. Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Jackie Speier (CA-14), and Vice Chairs Reps. Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and Deb Haaland (NM-01) hosted a virtual discussion focusing on the power of a woman’s right to vote.
Distinguished panelists included the Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; Stacey Abrams, Founder and Chair, Fair Fight Action; Maria Teresa Kumar, President, Voto Latino; and Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The Democratic Women’s Caucus called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to immediately pass H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which has languished on his desk for over 200 days.
“As we prepare to celebrate 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the sacred right to vote is under grave threat for women and all Americans,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “It is an honor to join the extraordinary Members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and many outstanding women leaders for a critical conversation on our work to combat voter suppression and safeguard our elections from the growing threat of hostile foreign powers and the coronavirus. Guided by the vision and values of these brilliant women and others across the country, we will seize this historic moment and rededicate ourselves to defending the right to vote and ensuring every woman’s voice is heard at the ballot box.”
“The power to vote will remain on of the greatest powers in America. In 1920, women finally won the right to vote, and on August 26, 2020, we will commemorate the suffrage centennial. But as we know, the fight is not over,” said DWC Co-Chair Brenda L. Lawrence. “Our right to vote is sacred, yet the Trump Administration and Republican politicians continue to engage in voter suppression tactics. We have fought too long and too hard for these rights – and we must all work together to protect them.”
“Women have been at the forefront of the fight for affordable health care, equal pay, and freedom from violence and discrimination. We cannot stop our efforts until every American has an equal opportunity to succeed. It will not happen without unobstructed access to the ballot box for all Americans,” said DWC Co-Chair Lois Frankel.
“Make no mistake, the suffragists who secured the right to vote for some women to vote over 100 years ago literally fought for that right. They were beaten, berated, and even sexually assaulted by jeering mobs. The battle for the right of women of color to vote took even longer, continuing through the 1960s and even today as Republicans push Jim Crow era voter suppression tactics,” said DWC Co-Chair Jackie Speier. “As the great Congressman John Lewis has said, you gotta make good trouble to make progress and voting is an act of protest. The suffrage movement continues today with making sure we reach out to all voters on what is at stake.”
“As our nation continues to commemorate the centennial of the 19th Amendment, women across the country continue leading the fight against voter suppression that undermines the sacred right of all Americans to make their voices heard at the ballot box,” said Vice Chair Veronica Escobar. “Now more than ever, we must lay a strong foundation for our democracy’s future, remove obstacles of participation to voting, expand vote-by-mail, and end discriminatory voter roll purging and partisan gerrymandering.”
“Every eligible voter in this country should be able to make their voice heard at the ballot box, but voter suppression efforts are putting unnecessary barriers in the way of every day Americans’ constitutional rights. I’ve organized for years, and I’m familiar with the tactics -- closing polling locations, limiting voting hours, setting excessive requirements, and even adding steps to vote by mail— they all disenfranchise voters. One hundred years after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, we are still in a battle for access to voting, especially for communities of color and working people. The Democratic Women’s Caucus will be at the forefront of the fight to ensure our constitutional right to vote is protected,” said Vice Chair Deb Haaland.
“Celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment reminds us of how far we have come in the fight for voting rights, but it also reminds us of the work that must be done to ensure every eligible voter is able to cast their ballot and make their voices heard,” said Stacey Abrams, Founder and Chair of Fair Fight Action. “For women of color, particularly Black women, the struggle for voting rights did not end with the ratification of the 19th Amendment and that struggle for the right to be heard continues today as we fight insidious attempts to silence the voices of voters.”
"It was a privilege to join the Democratic Women's Caucus today with Speaker Pelosi and her fierce colleagues, Representatives Lawrence, Frankel, Escobar, and Spier. Celebrating the 100 years of the suffragists with Stacey Abrams and Kristen Clark highlights how far we’ve come–women who are at the frontlines representing our country and defending the rights of all women. Their dead fast dedication to achieve full enfranchisement inspires me every day and I'm looking forward to working with them as we head into the most historic election of our lifetime. The stakes couldn’t be higher, but it’s women who will lead the charge for change,” said Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO & President of Voto Latino.
"Women have always lied at the heart of our nation's suffrage movement and continue to push forward the advocacy necessary to ensure that our nation's most vulnerable communities have voice in our democracy. As we mark 7 years since the Supreme Court's devastating decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, this is a critical moment to redouble our efforts in the fight against voter suppression. I am honored to partner with Representatives Lawrence, Frankel, Escobar, and Spier, Speaker Pelosi and leaders Stacey Abrams and Maria Teresa Kumar to help ensure that we are employing our best strategies in the fight to safeguard voting rights in our country,” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
The virtual discussion can be viewed here.
The Democratic Women’s Caucus is comprised of all 90 Democratic women in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Lawrence Contact: Jacqueline Elliott, 202-595-4031
Frankel Contact: Olivia Hodge, 202-225-9890
Speier Contact: Tracy Manzer, 202-225-3531
Escobar Contact: Elizabeth Lopez-Sandoval, 202-225-4831
Haaland Contact: Felicia Salazar, 202-981-1594