SEATTLE – Today is Women’s Equality Day, a holiday designated by Congress in 1971 to honor the passage of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote.
Nearly a century later, president of the League of Women Voters of Washington Ann Murphy said there is still progress to be made for women. She said one priority is equal pay for equal work, and she believes the best way to achieve that, and address other issues of equality, is through voting.
“The women who fought for the right to vote understood that voting is the key way to make an impact on the critical issues facing all of our communities,” she said. “And we have an Election Day fast approaching that everyone needs to be ready to participate in, to make their voice heard.”
Women in Washington gained the right to vote in 1910, a decade before the passage of the 19th Amendment.
Murphy said voters in the Evergreen State don’t face some of the same restrictions as in other states do, such as voter ID laws. Washington has conducted elections entirely by mail since 2011. However, Murphy said the vote-by-mail system isn’t without its flaws.
“The challenge there is to keep up the interest to vote when it is an easy process, but it may not be as much in the forefront when you’re not going to a polling place on an Election Day,” she added.
Washington ranks 18th in the nation, both in terms of voter registration and turnout, according to the Election Performance Index, despite being one of only three states to conduct elections solely by mail.