Guest Editorial: League of Women Voters celebrates 94 Years of Making Democracy Work |

Guest Editorial: League of Women Voters celebrates 94 Years of Making Democracy Work

Jenn Gonnelly, Co-president of the League of Women Voters of Utah

Ninety-four years ago on February 14th, the League of Women Voters was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt with the goal to secure the right to vote for women. After decades of debate and protest, the 19th amendment became law in August 1920. The League of Women Voters of Utah marks this anniversary with a renewed commitment to protect the right to vote and to make our elections fair, free and accessible to all eligible citizens.

We are excited to mark nearly 100 years of the League, and with it, women’s suffrage but our work continues. The right to vote remains under attack and the League remains a defender of our democracy, fighting to ensure all Americans can cast a ballot. Utah women were granted suffrage nearly 50 years before the 19th amendment, only to see it taken away by the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision which gutted key components of the monumental Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. The Court’s decision erased fundamental protections against racial discrimination in voting that had been effective for more than 40 years, and opened the floodgates for a wave of attacks on voters.

In January 2014, members of Congress introduced a bill designed to modernize the VRA through common sense solutions. This bipartisan legislation was carefully crafted to protect the rights of all voters from discrimination and repair the damage to the Voting Rights Act inflicted by the Supreme Court’s decision. The updated bill seeks to better protect all voters against discrimination at the ballot box and ensure Americans are guaranteed their right to vote.

As we celebrate our 94th year, we call upon Congress to swiftly pass the bipartisan bill to modernize the Voting Rights Act, and to protect Americans’ right to vote. We need modern, common sense fixes to protect everyone’s right to vote and make sure that our elections are free, fair and accessible for every American.

Our foremothers understood that voting provides citizens the ability to have an impact on the critical issues facing their communities. The League has a long history of making democracy work through voter registration drives, as well as candidate and issue debates and forums. We will continue to host these events in our community during this important election year as we call upon Congress to work quickly to ensure voters’ voices can be heard.

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For more information about the League of Women Voters, please visit