Quincy News

League of Women Voters of Adams County plan Sunday event

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 20, 2019 12:01 am

QUINCY -- Barb Richmiller wants people to remember the effort involved in women gaining the right to vote.

On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the constitution was certified, securing the right to vote for women, after decades of diligent effort.

"A lot of times older people and younger people as well take things for granted, think it has always been that way. It hasn't been, and indeed, it hasn't been that way very long," Richmiller said. "We think about historical events, and we celebrate the Lincoln-Douglas Debate, but women weren't voting. We went through World War I without women voting."

Richmiller is a board member of the League of Women Voters of Adams County which plans to celebrate Women's Equality Day, the anniversary date of the amendment's certification, with a special program on Sunday.

The program, which is free and open to the public, begins at 2 p.m. at the History Museum, 332 Maine.

Featured speaker Rachel Bringer Shepherd, presiding judge of Missouri's 10th Judicial Circuit, will highlight the topic, Women in Public Service.

A Palmyra, Mo., native, Shepherd practiced law in Palmyra, was an assistant prosecutor in Marion County from 2000 to 2002, served in the Missouri House of Representatives representing Marion and Ralls counties from 2003 to 2010 and was appointed as judge in December 2010, winning re-election in 2012 and 2018. She currently serves as a member of the Executive Council of the Missouri Judicial Conference and co-chair of the Missouri Children's Justice Task Force.

Richmiller said the celebration is designed to keep the significance of the day, and of the vote, in people's minds.

The first national constitutional amendment granting women the full right to vote was proposed in Congress in 1878 and in every congressional session after that. In 1919, it narrowly passed both houses of Congress and was sent to the states to be ratified.

By August 1920, only one more state was needed for ratification, and what came down to a tie vote in Tennessee was broken by the youngest state legislator thanks to a letter from his mother reminding him "to be a good boy" and "put the rat in ratification."

"The league, both local and national, works toward women's equality and women's issues, but it's not our only focus," Richmiller said. "The league in Adams County facilitates information and promotes participation in our governmental processes because we have a right to participate and we have the freedom to participate and we should."