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Samantha Gagnon

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This issue of the St. John’s Law Review contains several articles which were first presented at the Law Review’s Fall 2020 Symposium. This symposium was organized to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which states very simply, “[t]he right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

The right to vote is one of the most important political rights in this country but for most, it was also one of the hardest-won rights. For 244 years, American women were denied this right; thus, women were prevented from participating fully and equally in our supposed democracy. But, just over 100 years ago, as the result of tremendous strength and sacrifice, the first women in America exercised their newly secured constitutional right to vote.

Of course, the story of women’s suffrage does not end there. Asian Americans could not become citizens, so they could not vote, until 1952. Black women, who built this country, and Native Americans, whose land we live on, could not vote until 1965—only fifty-six years ago. And still today, because of felony disenfranchisement and burdensome election laws, millions of Americans are unable to vote.



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