The Cortez City Council celebrated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, with a female majority Tuesday evening.
The 19th Amendment was ratified Aug. 18, 1920. The council issued a proclamation to commemorate and mark the anniversary in the city’s record.
The state of Colorado recognized woman suffrage before 1920.
“I feel honored and excited,” Mayor Pro Tem Rachel Medina said of being part of the council’s female majority.
She and Councilors Arlina Yazzie and Amy Huckins are under 40 years old.
“We provide a unique perspective and can help the city plan for the future,” Medina said. She is encouraging the City Council to focus on homelessness and be “more proactive about low-income housing.”
But the presence of four women in the City Council makes her “hopeful for the future.”
Mayor Mike Lavey said recognizing the 100th anniversary of the ratification of women’s right to vote was important because “up until that point, half of the population was left out of the electoral process.”
Who has the right to vote?However, noted historian Martha Jones of Johns Hopkins University wrote in National Geographic magazine that after the 19th Amendment was ratified, Black women and men still faced hurdles at the polls, such as poll taxes, literacy tests and intimidation including threats of lynching.
Voter disenfranchisement exists in 2020 in the form of felony disenfranchisement, in which citizens lose their right to vote because of a felony conviction. It disproportionately affects people of color, and goes back to the birth of the United States.
In Colorado, incarcerated citizens can vote after serving their prison sentence. Only Maine and Vermont give felons unrestricted voting rights.
With the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing that likely will be in place Nov. 3, mail-in ballots will play a larger role than before. Since 2013, active registered voters in Colorado have received their ballots by mail, but all registered voters have retained the option of dropping off completed ballots at an authorized office.
Lavey emphasized Tuesday that it is important that everyone to verify their voter registration and ensure they are eligible to vote. To register or to verify registration, go to Go Vote Colorado’s website.