In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of a historic vote held in the New Jersey Legislature, Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) called for a ceremonial vote in the Assembly on Monday. Assembly members symbolically voted in support of the 19th Amendment through a resolution (ACR-127/SCR-39) commemorating its passage a century ago.
The 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote in America, was ratified in New Jersey on February 9, 1920 and became national law just a little over six months later. Three-fourths of all states must ratify a Constitutional amendment for it to become law, and New Jersey was the 29th state to do so.
Not only do women now comprise a substantial portion of voters in our state, but present-day residents are represented by dozens of women lawmakers in the State Legislature – many of whom participated in Monday’s ceremonial vote.
“Our state has come a long way since that historic vote one hundred years ago,” said Speaker Coughlin. “The Assembly wanted to honor that historic moment and its impact on the women throughout our country. On days like this, it’s important to remember the efforts of the suffragists who courageously and persistently fought for the equality women deserved.”
Some of the notable New Jersey suffragists who helped advocate for voting rights were Antoinette Brown Blackwell and Alice Paul. Blackwell was one of the first suffragists in New Jersey to vote in the 1920 presidential election, while the first annual “Alice Paul Day” – as designated by a legislative resolution – was just celebrated on January 11.
“We must and will continue to pass legislation addressing the issues that affect women throughout our state,” said Speaker Coughlin. “During the previous legislative session, we passed bills to improve pay equity, maternal health outcomes, family planning services, workplace protections and more on behalf of women – and we won’t stop there. Today was a way to honor history and renew our commitment to equality in New Jersey.”