As US celebrates Woman Suffrage centennial, will women repeat 2018 midterm election outcome?

by Jay Domingo, PDM Staff Writer

Women marched in New York City for the passage of the 19th Amendment | Photo courtesy of History

NEW YORK – Today, August 18, marks the 100th year ratification of the 19th amendment of the U.S. Constitution that guarantees all American women the right to vote, which was passed by Congress on June 4, 1919 and ratified on August 18, 1920.

It took a lengthy and difficult struggle to achieve this milestone – a victory witnessed by agitation and progress. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution.

During the 50th anniversary of Woman Suffrage, Presidential Proclamation 3998 was issued “recognizing that women surely have a still wider role to play in the political, economic and social life of our country. And, in respect for American women, let all of us work to bring this about.”

From The American Presidency Project Presidential Proclamation 1970:

“It is hard for any of us living in 1970 to imagine a time when women did not vote. Yet for more than seventy-five years, American women faced adversity, ridicule and derision on every level of our society as they sought this precious right. Brave and courageous women, knowing their cause was just, drawing strength and inspiration from one another through generations, fought long and hard for Woman Suffrage. Their victory was a victory for civil rights in America and it marked the beginning of a proud, new chapter in our nation’s history.”

The nation remembers Susan B. Anthony as one of the most prominent leaders in the fight for woman’s suffrage. She travelled the country, giving speeches, petitioning Congress and publishing a suffrage newspaper. Unfortunately, she did not witness the passage of the 19th Amendment, which also became the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.

In 2018, the US experienced the highest miderm election voting turnout in four decades, electing a historic number of women to office. Will this trend continue?

According to the Bureau of Census data, in 2016, female voters accounted for 53.6 percent, a slight increase from 53.0 percent in 1980. Compared to male voters, it decreased slightly from 47.0 percent in 1980 to 46.4 percent in 2016. (See figure 5). The size of the nation’s citizen voting-age population in 1980 has increased, from 160.7 million in 1980 to 224.1 million in 2016.

Although figures have not been broken down into gender, the Pew Research Center reports that since 2000, the size of immigrant electorate nearly doubled to 23.2 million, making up roughly 10 percent of the nation’s overall electorate -both record highs based on Census Bureau data.

In 1965, when the Immigration and Nationality Act became law, the nation’s 9.6 million immigrants made up just 5 percent of the population. Today, 45 million immigrants living in the country, most are either from Latin America or Asia, account for about 13.9 percent of the population.

Pew adds that according to the US Department of Homeland Security, between 2009 and 2019, 7.2 million immigrants naturalized became citizens. In fiscal year 2018 alone, more than 756 immigrants naturalized.

Mexican and Filipino immigrants are the largest among foreign-born eligible voters. The Philippines has 1.4 million eligible voters which is 6 percent among immigrant eligible voters or 4 percent among all immigrants.

In the case of Filipino immigrants that are eligible to vote, assuming a ratio of 60 percent women to 40 percent men, will they all go out on election day and vote? Overall, will women repeat the 2018 election outcome?

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