90 Years of Voting…Time to get Running

| September 2, 2010 | 0 Comments

90 years and one week. That is how long women in the USA have had a constitutional right to vote in elections AND have them counted.

Yes, in some parts of our fair country, women were allowed to vote, but they didn’t count.

And for women of color, especially African American women, the right to vote wasn’t fully realized until Jim Crow laws were off the books in 1965.

Last week I attended two celebrations of the 19th Amendment. One showcased many Democrat women running for office including current Attorney General Lisa Madigan. At one point in her speech she mentioned that she is the only woman to hold state-wide office. She got a lot of applause for that, but she responded to the supportive crowd with, “I know you appreciate my work, but I was hoping for the opposite reaction.” Not only would Madigan like some company, but some political reporters have already discussed the lack of diversity on the state-wide ballot on both sides of the aisle.

The last time I talked about you running for office…Yes, YOU…I talked about the White House Project. Illinois has its own training programs for women. One for Dems and one for the GOP. Each program has an application to submit. I couldn’t find the application for the Lincoln Series, but it’s due in October. So reach out to them if you need one. The IWIL application asks for two endorsements from an elected official, Democrat party leader or labor leader.

But are those the only ways for Illinois women to get on a ballot?

In an op-ed at The New York Times, Anna Holmes and Rebecca Traister chastised the National Democratic party for not having “A Palin of Our Own.” Jill Miller Zimon, a friend of mine, contends that Sarah Palin, while a Republican, is not a creation of the Republican Party. Much like Jill, who recently won her own election, is not a creation of the Democratic Party.

Lesson? Women can not wait for the party to come to them. If you are a huge supporter of your party, go for it. Sign up for a training session. If you get in, report back! Share what you learned! If you aren’t, don’t fret. Jill muscled her way into office without a party training or support and so can you.

And what do you know! The Chicago Municipal Elections are just around the corner! You can find out how to file petitions (well once the petitions get posted anyway…oh, Chicago) at the Chicago Board of Elections website. So far four Aldermen have said that they will retire — All four are women.

Who will we replace them with?

Category: Featured, Political Grounds

About the Author ()

Veronica I. Arreola is a professional feminist, a mom and a writer. She blogs about the intersection of feminism and motherhood at VivalaFeminista.com. Veronica lives on the north side of Chicago with her husband, their spunky daughter and doxie named Piper. You can connect with Veronica at Facebook or Twitter.

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