Collection Highlights: Bringing people to the ballot box

The 2019-2020 Georgia History Festival theme, “Women’s Suffrage at 100: The 19th Amendment and Georgia History,” focuses on exploring the legacy of women’s suffrage in Georgia and the United States in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the struggle to pass the 19th Amendment, in which women won the right to vote. Throughout the Festival, the Collection Highlights Blog will share materials from GHS collections that present varying perspectives, opinions, and efforts related to the women’s suffrage movement and its legacy in Georgia.

This letter from the Women’s Vote Project and poster from the NAACP demonstrates the attempts organizations made during the 1970s and 80s to bring marginalized groups to the ballot box. The letter from 1984 cites “30 million unregistered women and the additional 14 million registered women who did not vote.” The Women’s Vote Project was supported by local organizations to aid with voter registration, increase national awareness, and facilitate cooperation between other voter’s rights groups. By increasing the number of women voters, they hoped to influence policies and elections in a way that favored women and their ideals.

The NAACP poster stating, “at the ballot box everybody is equal,” promotes universal suffrage. After the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 outlawed the barriers used to prevent African Americans from exercising their right to vote, many people remained hesitant to enter their polling locations, and the law did not affect state and local elections. However, 250,000 new black voters registered between its passage in August to the end of the year.