The year 2020 marks the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. That amendment eliminated gender as a reason to deny access to the ballot. The long history of voting rights—who has had access to the ballot, how voting rights have been gained, or lost, by US citizens—extends beyond the anniversary of the 19th Amendment. In recognition of this ongoing struggle for voting rights, the Oregon Women’s History Consortium and the Oregon Historical Society are spearheading: Chalk the Vote! This DIY project will commemorate the 19th Amendment, as well as all constitutional amendments and acts that expanded voting rights. The year 2020 is the:
- 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment (removed race, color or prior servitude from denying voting rights)
- 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment (removed sex from denying voting rights)
- 56th anniversary of the 24th Amendment (ended the poll tax)
- 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (prohibited racial discrimination in voting)
- 49thanniversary of the 26th Amendment: right to vote cannot be denied on account of age for those 18 or older (This amendment has roots in an Oregon legal case, Oregon v. Mitchell, 1970)
Together these five legislative remedies extended the right to vote/suffrage/the franchise to vast numbers of citizens who had previously been denied full citizenship. Each of these pieces of legislation righted previous wrongs by adding new voices to the governance of our nation, and moved us closer to the stated equality laid out in our nation’s founding documents.
To honor all of these important changes to our state’s and our nation’s history of voting rights, OWHC and the Oregon Historical Society are collaborating on #ChalkTheVoteOR for August 26, 2020.
What is #ChalkTheVoteOR?
#ChalkTheVoteOR is a DIY activity to mark these five legislative milestones. So:
- Grab some chalk
- Find a sidewalk or other outdoor surface
- Copy out the text of the voting rights amendment/act of your choice. Text to amendments provided in multiple languages below.
- Be creative—add flair to your Chalk art!
- Post your Chalk the Vote! creations to your social media accounts, tag OHS (@oregonhistory) and OWHC (@oregonwomenshistory) on Facebook or on the OHS (@oregonhistoricalsociety) and the OWHC (@oregonwomenshistory) Instagrams, include the hashtag #ChalkTheVoteOR, and we’ll share posts on our social media channels.
- If you don’t use social media, you can send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
When is Chalk the Vote?: August 23-29, 2020. There will be a focus on August 26th, the day the 19th Amendment was officially added to the US Constitution.
Chalk the Vote! is a non-partisan activity, intended to raise awareness of these historical milestones and discover new twists and turns in the American story. We encourage you or your organization to plan now for chalking the text of any or all of these significant amendments and acts (English and Español amendment text available below. More translations coming soon).
#ChalkTheVoteOR Amendment Text
The 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 race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
The 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 of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.
AN ACT To enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States . . . No voting qualifications or prerequisites to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.
The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.
15th Enmienda, 1870
Los Estados Unidos o cualquier Estado no negarán ni restringirán el derecho de los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos a votar por motivos de raza, color o condición previa de servidumbre.
19th Enmienda, 1920
El derecho de los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos a votar no será denegado ni restringido por los Estados Unidos ni por ningún Estado por razón de sexo.
24th Enmienda, 1964
El derecho de los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos a votar en cualquier elección primaria u otra para Presidente o Vicepresidente, para electores para Presidente o Vicepresidente, o para Senador o Representante en el Congreso, no será denegado ni restringido por los Estados Unidos ni un Estado por no pagar impuesto de votación u cualquier otro impuesto.
Voting Rights Act, 1965
UNA LEY Para hacer cumplir la decimoquinta enmienda a la Constitución de los Estados Unidos. . . Ningún estado o subdivisión política impondrá o aplicará calificaciones de votación o requisitos previos para votar, o estándar, práctica o procedimiento para negar o restringir el derecho de cualquier ciudadano de los Estados Unidos a votar por motivos de raza o color.
26th Enmienda, 1970
Los Estados Unidos o cualquier estado no negarán ni restringirán el derecho de los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos, que tienen 18 años de edad o más, a votar.
Some History of Chalking for Suffrage
Chalking sidewalks in support of Votes for Women is nothing new! Noted national lecturer on suffrage and labor issues, Frances Squire Potter, came to Oregon in 1912. On the day the Potter was to lecture at the Taylor Street Methodist Episcopal Church, young supporters chalked the sidewalks around the church to encourage passersby to attend that lecture.
To see an example of a contemporary chalk project that inspired this project, click here.
To see an Image Roundup of #ChalkTheVoteOR, click here.
#ChalkTheVoteOR Project Partners: