On This Election Day, Go Vote!


My maternal grandmother Nora was born in 1894.  In 1920, when the 19th Amendment, the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, was passed, she was twenty-six.  She had been married to my grandfather for five years, and they were the parents of a two-year old son, my mother’s oldest brother.  Having lived through a time when women could not vote, my grandmother took that newly granted right very seriously.  She never missed an election, either national or local, and she was quite vocal in encouraging other women to get out and vote.  Not voting was a sure sign of laziness, ignorance, or just “being plain sorry,” according to Nora.

I wish I had thought to ask her, before her death at age 94, about the presidential election of 1920.  I would like to have discussed the details, such as where she voted and how.  Were there long lines, and did the women turn out enthusiastically? Like most rural Kentuckians and Southerners of her generation, my grandmother was an ardent, lifelong Democrat. I assume she cast her first vote for James M. Cox, the Democratic candidate, newspaperman and Governor of Ohio.  Cox, by nearly all hindsight accounts the better man, lost to Warren G. Harding, now remembered primarily for the rampant corruption of his administration. Twelve years would pass before my grandmother chose the winning ticket, when she, no doubt, voted for Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932. Interestingly, a young FDR had been James Cox’s Vice Presidential running mate.

Today on election day, I’m especially grateful to the generations of determined women who fought for nearly a hundred years for the precious right to vote.  Because of their efforts, my grandmother voted in 1920, I will vote today, and my daughter will vote before long.  In years past, I may have supported candidates that probably would not have won my grandmother’s vote.  But this year, I feel confident that she would strongly agree with my choice.

On this election day and always, may God bless the United States of America!