Alabama Women Can Make History In The December Senate Special Election
WASHINGTON - The National Organization for Women (NOW) congratulates the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for adopting its new Standards of Conduct, to which each of its 8,427 members are expected to adhere.
The time has come for Alabama women to be a political power in the state. We can make the difference in the upcoming Senate election.
Let’s look at the history of women’s political participation in Alabama.
The 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote was approved by the U.S. Congress in 1919, and ratified by three-quarters of the states by 1920. But, sadly, Alabama didn’t ratify the 19th Amendment until 1953.
What’s more, even after they gained the vote, Alabama state law prohibited women from serving on juries in state court. The Civil Rights Law in 1957 allowed women on federal juries, but state courts still balked at granting women their constitutional rights. It wasn’t until late 1966 that Alabama became the last state in the U.S. to eliminate any prohibitions to women’s service on state juries.
A report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “The Status of Women in the States,” provides data on women’s progress in America. The 2015 Report used four measures for women’s political status: registration, voter turnout, representation in elected office and women’s institutional resources. Alabama ranked in the bottom ten, with an overall grade of D-.
Alabama ranks 22nd in the percentage of women registered to vote (68.8%), and 28th in the percent of women who voted (52.9%), according to the Report. Even a modest increase in this registration and in voter turnout could determine the outcome when voters come to the polls for the special election this December.
In the recent Virginia election for governor, women voted for the winning candidate, Ralph Northam by a 61% to 39% margin, while men voted for Republican Ed Gillespie by a 50% to 48% margin, according to exit polls by Edison Media Research.
The revelations about Roy Moore’s past have upended political polling, but the gender gap remains constant. A recent Decision Desk HQ/Opinion Savvy poll found that Democrat Doug Jones commands a 16-point advantage among women, while Republican Roy Moore enjoys a 20-point lead among men.
Outsiders analyzing the Alabama campaigns see an electorate split by divisions — Republicans who will never consider voting for a Democrat, Democrats who only think the worst of every Republican. But if we can remove the party labels from the candidates in this race, the choice becomes much clearer.
Doug Jones is staying focused on the kitchen table issues that have defined his career — healthcare, education, justice, and jobs. Roy Moore, on the other hand, is running on ultra-conservative issues while defending himself from constant scandals.
Women in Alabama have come a long way during the 20th century, and our journey is far from over. But to hear Roy Moore tell it, we shouldn’t even bother making the trip!
It’s been reported recently that a 2011 study course co-authored by Roy Moore — still available for purchase on Amazon — instructs students that women should not be permitted to run for elected office. If women do run for office, the course argues, people have a moral obligation not to vote for them.
Politicians like to say that the only poll that matters is the one on election day, and in this case, they’re right. If we want to elect a Senator we can be proud of, Alabama women can’t afford to stay home on Election Day.
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The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.