Poll: Voting

This past Friday was Women’s Equality Day in the US, marking 91 years since the passing of the 19th Amendment. And though we were a good 20 years behind colonies such as New Zealand and South Australia in making it universal, we have an impressive history to show for it. Some women spent their whole adult lives devoted to the cause, while others loudly argued against suffrage for women, but in the end, the movement is known for its success through non-violent civil disobedience.

What about you? As a woman, do you take the right to vote seriously, wherever you are? Do you consider it important to make sure that your voice is heard in your country? What does your own history with suffrage look like, and how does it reflect the struggles and hard work of your foremothers? Do you think our voices today can make a real difference?

(Interestingly, in Utah, women gained the right to vote in 1870, but had that right revoked in 1887 until the territory gave up the official practice of polygamy. It was then restored in 1895, 25 years before the rest of the country. Any thoughts as to why Utah was so progressive in extending this right?)

And for a different perspective on what Women’s Equality Day can mean to us as individuals, check out this great piece.

Corktree

Corktree is exploring life and spirituality in new ways and new environments while studying midwifery, reiki, yoga, homeopathy, herbology and evolutionary nutrition. She has 3 daughters and one son, which add up to what now feels like an enormous family of 6.

You may also like...

22 Responses

  1. jks says:

    Wyoming was also progressive. Like Utah it had given women the right to vote while a territory and when it was admitted as a state in 1890 it became the first state with a woman’s right to vote.
    Interesting to think about.
    Apparently, Brigham Young supported women voting so it happened while Utah was a territory. Brigham Young have a few feminists kinds of views like women becoming educated and being professionals, so it doesn’t surprise me that he wasn’t scared of women voting.
    One thing I just read said that BY or Mormon’s might have thought it could improve Utah’s image that they were not keeping women captive in polygamy. Makes sense.

  2. MJK says:

    Caveat: I vote in all elections providing I remember when they are. November elections fall right around my mom’s birthday, but I always have a heck of a time remembering when the May elections are and not having any TV service with local news anchors constantly reminding me probably doesn’t help.

    • MJK says:

      Second P.S. – I did not vote when I was in college except the presidential election. Now that I’m a “grown up” with a full time job, a parent and a homeowner, all those boring ballot issues about taxes and schools and whatnot all are so much less boring.

  3. April says:

    I vote in every election–but I feel extremely frustrated because my votes are pretty meaningless. I am a Democrat living in Utah where Republicans are almost guaranteed to win most elections. In Utah, these candidates are chosen by delegates at the Republican party convention, not voters, so it seems that most of my elected officials are selected at a meeting that I am not invited to, not via election. Meanwhile, my vote for U.S. president is not even counted because the electoral college system (always) gives all Utah votes to the Republican candidate. So, yes, I always vote, but I am often left wondering, why did I bother with that little exercise?

    • BethSmash says:

      April!
      I feel the same way!!! But don’t ever stop voting. That’s how those in the majority keep us down! Did you know, that in Utah between 30-40% of the votes (when counted all together) are democratic, NOT republican. BUT due to fun things like gerrymandering only about 20% of the representatives are democratic?

      And yes, the caucus system is frustrating – because people who show up tend to be more extreme than the every day voters , so that is problematic.

      Now… the electoral college – this could be fixed or completely done away with. To “fix” it just make every state do proportional voting. IE – x% voted r and y% voted d – and that’s the same percentage of votes that go into the electoral college. However, I for one favor a popular vote. But that’s just me…

      But yeah… don’t stop voting. It will make a difference. And in the meantime, keep an eye on the legislature – and sign petitions when they try to pass horrible, horrible laws.

    • I’m a Democrat living in Utah too! If for no other reason, I like to vote to express my contrariness. 🙂

    • IdahoG-ma says:

      I know that feeling.

  4. Kmillecam says:

    I have heard the same perspective on BY before, that he had some feministy things that he did, but it may have been for PR purposes because of how negatively received polygamy was.

  5. Corktree says:

    Sadly, I’m a bit more cynical about BY. Of course, no one can know what he really intended, but does anyone else see the enfranchisement of women in Utah as a tool for pulling more political weight in favor of the status quo there? I mean, didn’t women outnumber men at the time? And wouldn’t that significantly increase a future electoral college vote? I agree that it was a PR move as well so that the rest of the country wouldn’t see Mormon women as oppressed by polygamy, but I wonder if there was something else being calculated as well. Regardless, it bothers me that it was viewed as a pawn to be played in the game of whether or not Utah would become a state.

  6. BethSmash says:

    I have to say, I’m not certain it was COMPLETELY a PR move… I mean, one of the great things about our church is that we VOTE on stuff in general. Sure – it’s usually fait accompli, and we’re mainly just showing agreement, but STILL it’s always been a tradition.

    And I always thought it was interesting that the feds took a woman’s right to vote away, while at the same time arguing that woman in the church were being … oh, what’s the word I’m looking for – repressed – by polygamy.

    ALSO… interesting fact time. The first ALL FEMALE Town Council was in Kanab in 1912. They’ve sure regressed a lot lately (Kanab is the town with the brouhaha about adding that women should have a quiver full of children to their town charter or whatever a few years ago).

    • Corktree says:

      Actually, what we do in the Church is not really voting, since it has nothing to do with the majority – if even one person goes against a sustaining, the individual being sustained may not receive whatever office they are being considered for, which does not in fact become irreversible as “fait accompli” implies. In a strange way, one voice in our Church has even more power to affect leadership than we do as individuals in electing the US president, but I’m not sure what would actually happen if someone (an active member in good standing) stood up in General Conference) or even a Stake Conference, and said they had reason to not sustain someone. I’m actually not sure what the policy is in that case, but I know they don’t take it lightly.

      • BethSmash says:

        As for the ‘fait accompli’ part – I mainly meant that we don’t vote on a number of candidates – that we’re given just one. But, I totally see what you mean. And that’s interesting, I’d never really thought of it that way, that one voice has more power. But that’s probably a good thing.

        As to what happens when you DON’T sustain someone in a calling, and officially raise your hand during the opposed part. I believe it depends on the level of the calling, but what they do is they take the dissenter off to be interviewed by the person ABOVE the other person in the chain of hierarchy. So… if you raised your arm against sustaining a new Gospel Doctrine teacher, you’d talk to the bishop – but if you were against a newly proposed bishop – you’d talk to the S.P.

        BUT, you better have a good reason. If they feel like your concerns aren’t valid or valuable – they’ll go ahead anyway… that’s what I’ve heard. However, I’ve also heard the opposite. For example – if you refused to sustain the newly proposed bishop because you’d seen him engaged in an affair – then they would probably take his name out of the running while they did a disciplinary council or whatever. That’s what I’ve heard anyway.

    • Diane says:

      BethSmash

      Not always the case, I voted against something in a sacrament meeting with SP President present and my BP Kept saying,”we are all 100% in agreement,” I kept repeating,” No, I do not agree, we do not have 100% agreement,” It was like he was choosing not to acknowledge me and it was pissing me off because the SP was a practicing attorney so he should have interrupted my BP with something like,” There is one vote against,” but, they refused to do even that much

      • BethSmash says:

        That’s very upsetting. I was under the opinion that if someone dissented then things HAD to occur in that manner. That’s what my grandma always told me. She was in a ward where a proposed bishop was having an affair – and the woman he was having the affair with is the one who dissented (which I always thought was kind of awesome… I mean, not that she was having an affair, but that she had the guts to own up to it) – of course, this was not known at the time, but as the guy was excommunicated, and separated from his wife, the reason made it’s way through the ward. Anywho… they left the current Bishop to preside and shuttled her off to Bishop’s office and talked to her. And then pulled him out of sacrament to talk to him. And then the next week they found someone else to be the Bishop.
        So… I was just under the impression that if someone was opposed they HAD to talk to that person.

  7. alex w. says:

    I’m somewhere between voting just in major elections and every election. While I was in college I gradually ended up voting more, but not in city specific issues like school board because I neither had kids there nor was a long term resident. My goal is to be an active voter because its a right and rresponsibility that I don’t take lightly.(if I haven’t decided on an issue or candidate I don’t vote on it because I don’t feel qualified. That isn’t too often though.)

    • BethSmash says:

      Do you ever vote for judges? This is one aspect of voting in which I NEVER feel qualified.

      • Kris says:

        Sometimes there is government sponsored literature explaining a judge’s record, whether attorneys like the judge and so forth. It is very interesting. I think this is an important vote.
        If you go to caucuses please don’t go because your bishop told you to go. Go informed or stay home. I get irritated with groups of old ladies who vote for all important delegates on a whim. I am an old lady myself but once saw a group of giggling old ladies vote for a young college kid because he was cute. The kid was there with his parents and didn’t have a clue. It is really sad.

      • BethSmash says:

        Kris,
        I do read that packet faithfully… but I still feel like I don’t know enough about the judges in order to vote properly. One year, I worked as a file clerk and court runner for a law office, and you overhear interesting tidbits from the lawyers and the staff about rulings that DON’T make it into the packet. Of course everything you hear is filtered through whoever is talking and their politics, and their personal relationships with the judge. I kind of wish that they would have a group of convicts talk about their experience with the judge. If they felt they were treated fairly and stuff… but that probably wouldn’t work well either.

        Ooh, I have to say… I’m against caucuses in general, because I believe they promote the more extreme viewpoints. BUT, I was actually kind of proud of my sister (who is the exact opposite of me in terms of politics – she’s a crazy tea partiest uber conservative, I’m a crazy uber socialist liberal) who went and got herself voted as a delegate because she believed so strongly in participating. Which… I guess is sort of good. Although, I’m pretty sure that if we had primaries a more moderate element would be the party nominee. I think I was so proud of her, because I’m not as proactive as her. I’m a leave a comment on a blog/sign a petition/talk my friends and coworkers ears off about stuff, but rarely actually DO things to promote my stance. (besides vote) But I still think primaries would be a better way to go.

      • alex w. says:

        Yeah! Last time I voted, I did. I read the information in the voting book and tried to make a decision. They all seemed really similar, but I tried for it anyway.

  8. Diane says:

    I vote. But, Philadelphia is a very Blue collar town and sometimes I feel very intimidated because I see a lot of union people standing outside the building where I vote and you can forget about calling the police about it because they just laugh

  9. Stan Beale says:

    A bit of interesting history. The first woman to vote in a Presidential election was probably “One Eyed Charley” Parkhurst in the 1868 election. She was one of , if not the bravest stagecoach driver in the Sierra Nevada in the California Gold Rush era. Unfortunately, she lost an eye to a kick from a horse and thus the name “One Eyed Charley”. She was noted for not only being able to make excellent time with her coach but for also fatally shooting some poor soul who attempted to rob her stage.

    Her obituary concluded with “it was an honor to be striven for to occupy the spare end of the drivers seat when the fearless Charley Parkhurst held the reins of a four-or-six in hand.” It did not include the fact that she passed as a male for over thirty years.

    She did this because she would never have been allowed to do the things she was able to do and wanted to do as a female. A step that apparently a number of women had to take at this time.

    Rest in Peace Charley Darkey Parkhurst (1812-1879)

  10. Kim says:

    My sister wrote a history thesis paper on polygamy and it’s relationship to early suffrage in Utah. She proposed that because polygamy required women to be much more self sufficient, they became more involved in local political issues and thus it was natural for them to become voters. This is of course a very brief summary. (Most of her research came from the first Exponent!)

Leave a Reply