Shaking the Foundation of Privilege: The Fight for a Fair Vote, from Seneca Falls to the 2018 Midterms

In the 19th century, ample water and rich soil made Seneca Falls a town full of thriving farms and optimistic people. Idealism took hold in the many calls for progressive political reform and utopian community-building, as residents of the small New York town committed to causes like the abolition of slavery, harmony between indigenous people and settlers, and even the dismantling of church hierarchy.

The deadline to register to vote in the Arizona primary election is July 30.

Seneca Falls’ flowing streams also gave it the water power to build industry at a time when industry was transforming family structure. Children could be assets to farm families that needed more hands to share the labor of harvests and animal husbandry, but in industrial settings, they could be a liability, bringing costs to the home in the form of food, clothing, medical care, and education. Many women tried to avoid pregnancies by using the family planning methods of that era, which included spermicidal douches and abortion, as well as pills and tonics advertised for the “stoppage of nature” and other veiled references to contraception. As women became less involved in childbearing, their roles in the home — and society — began to change as well.

Water mill, New York State. Photo: Wikipedia.

Amid those influences, the women’s rights movement coalesced in Seneca Falls, spearheaded in large part by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. They were reformers who met through the anti-slavery movement but turned their attention to the emancipation of women. Stanton evoked the parallels between those causes in a speech she gave before the New York Legislature, in which she decried how color and sex had put many “in subjection to the white Saxon man.” Thus, from the beginning, reproductive freedom and women’s rights were closely linked, and they were connected with anti-racism and other social justice movements. Continue reading

For Women’s Equality Day, A Call to Use Your Right to Vote

On August 18, 1920, Congress ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and on August 26, 1920, it was certified: “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.”

It had taken 72 years: In 1848, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott convened the first women’s rights convention in U.S. history at Seneca Falls, this resolution was passed: “Resolved, That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.”

People in power would not be trying so hard to keep us from voting if our votes weren’t powerful. We must not give up that power.

Of 12 resolutions, it was the only one that was not passed unanimously. Although leaders such as Sojourner Truth, Mary McClintock, Susan B. Anthony, and Frederick Douglass supported a resolution demanding women’s right to vote, many other attendees thought such a resolution might be a bridge too far. But by 1920, after women had marched, rallied, and faced abuse and arrest, several states had already adopted women’s suffrage.

In 1971, the newly elected Rep. Bella Abzug proposed observing August 26 as Women’s Equality Day to commemorate women’s suffrage, and a joint resolution of Congress made it so. But getting the right to vote cannot be considered a victory if we do not exercise that right. In the 2016 election, only 58 percent of registered voters actually cast a ballot. Although Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.9 million votes, she trailed President Obama’s 2008 votes by 3.4 million. Continue reading

Meet Our Candidates: Terry Goddard for Arizona Secretary of State

The Arizona general election will be held on November 4, 2014. Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” In order to vote in the general election, you must register to vote by October 6 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

Terry_Goddard 2014[T]erry Goddard is running for Arizona secretary of state — one of eight executive positions that are open during the 2014 general election. This seat is currently held by Ken Bennett, who is barred from running for re-election under Arizona’s term-limit restrictions. As attorney general under Gov. Janet Napolitano and Gov. Jan Brewer from 2003 to 2011, state director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1995 to 2002, and four-time mayor of Phoenix from 1983 to 1990, Mr. Goddard is no stranger to Arizona politics.

The secretary of state is the first in line to succeed the governor in the event of removal from office, and primarily serves as Arizona’s chief election official. In a time when states are actively working to mandate strict voter registration laws to disenfranchise voters under the guise of minimizing voter fraud, it is essential that Arizona elect a secretary of state who understands Arizona from the ground up. As secretary of state, Mr. Goddard will ensure that we all retain our right to vote for individuals who will serve on our behalf and protect our basic human rights.

Mr. Goddard was kind enough to talk to us on September 22, 2014.

“One of Arizona’s greatest strengths is our diversity. We should celebrate it, not demonize it.”

Tell us a little about your background.

I am an Arizona native and ASU College of Law graduate. I am proud to have served on active duty in the U.S. Navy. I retired as a commander after 27 years in the Naval Reserve.

I was elected mayor of Phoenix four times, serving from 1983 to 1990. In those years, the city greatly increased citizen participation, expanded and modernized law enforcement, revitalized downtown, and set up nationally recognized programs in economic development, the arts, and historic preservation. During that time, we worked closely with Planned Parenthood to control potentially highly disruptive demonstrations at clinics and protect the rights of women patients. Continue reading

Make Your Voice Heard: A PPAA Guide to Voting in Arizona

Last year saw more state-level legislation to restrict abortion access than any other year in the last three decades, and hundreds of new abortion restriction bills have been introduced into state legislatures this year. That’s just one indicator of what’s at stake in this election year. Political assaults on women’s health care have been many, both nationally and here in Arizona. Just months ago, Arizona lawmakers voted on bills that attacked employer coverage for birth control, access to medically necessary abortions, and health care choices for AHCCCS users.

With online registration and mail-in ballots, voting is easier than ever.

The Arizona primary election on August 28, 2012 will give voters the opportunity to turn the tide. To help voters, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive health and freedom. Along with those endorsements, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates,” spotlighting each Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona-endorsed candidate. To accompany the information on candidates and issues we’ve been sharing, here’s a quick guide to voting in Arizona, to help readers make sure their voices are heard in 2012!

Who Is Eligible to Vote?

To register to vote in Arizona, you must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of Arizona, as well as a resident of the county listed on your registration. You should also be at least 18 years old by the date of the next election.

If you have had a past felony conviction you cannot vote unless you have had your civil rights restored (please see the last section).

How Can I Register to Vote?

You can register to vote online using EZ Voter Registration, use a printable form available online, contact your County Recorder to request a voter registration form by mail, or show up in person at your Country Recorder’s office to register to vote.

Proof of citizenship is required if you are registering to vote for the first time in Arizona or have moved to a different county in Arizona. Information on what qualifies as proof of citizenship is available on the Arizona Secretary of State’s website.

What Circumstances Require Re-Registering?

Any time you move to a new residence or change your name, you will need to register to vote again. If you wish to change your political party affiliation, that also requires registering again.  Re-registering on EZ Voter Registration usually takes a few minutes or less, and it gives you the opportunity to opt in or out of the Permanent Early Voting List to receive early ballots (by mail) for all elections you’re eligible to vote in. If you have an Arizona driver’s license or Arizona non-operating identification issued after October 1, 1996, your number from it, your name as it appears on it, and your date of birth are the only identifying information you need to complete the process.

What is the Deadline for Registering to Vote?

To be able to vote in a coming election, you have to be registered 29 days prior to it. Registration for the August 28 primary closes on July 30 at midnight. Registration for the November 6 general election closes on October 9 at midnight.

How Do I Find What District I’m in?

Due to recent redistricting, you should check to make sure you know your legislative district. You can use the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission’s online District Locator to find out what legislative district you live in.

How Do I Find My Polling Place?

You can visit the Arizona Secretary of State’s online Voter View tool to find out your polling place. Click on “Search Your Polling Place” to find out where you should go to vote.

What Do I Need to Bring with Me to My Polling Place?

In order to vote, you will need to bring identification with you. If you have one form of identification that shows your name, current address, and a photograph of you (such as a valid Arizona driver’s license, valid Arizona non-operating identification license, or tribal identification), that will be sufficient. If you don’t have a form of identification that meets all three criteria, you can bring two forms of identification, as long as they meet these requirements:

  • Two different forms of identification, each of which show your name and address
  • One form of identification with a photograph of you and another form of identification that shows your name and address

Examples of identification without photographs include recent utility bills in your name, a vehicle registration in your name, and an Indian census card. More examples and specific information about what qualifies as identification are available on the Arizona Secretary of State’s website.

What Does It Mean if I Get a Provisional Ballot?

It’s best to avoid having to use a provisional ballot by following the information above. However, provisional ballots are necessary in some circumstances. More specific information about provisional ballots is available on the PPAA blog in the article “Provisional Ballots — How to Avoid Them and What to Do if You Have to Vote One.”

How Can I Vote by Mail (Get an Early Ballot)?

To vote by mail, contact your County Recorder.

What If I Need Assistance Filling Out My Ballot, Haven’t Had My Civil Rights Restored, or Am a Long-Distance Voter?

If you are unable to fill out a ballot because of a disability, someone else can fill it out on your behalf and put their signature in a box to verify that it was filled out and signed on your behalf.

If you have had a one-count felony conviction and no other felony convictions in Arizona, your civil rights should be automatically restored after you’ve completed your sentence (including probation) and paid any fines you incurred. If you have had two or more felony convictions, Arizona law requires that your probation officer or court provide written information about restoring your civil rights. More information is available on the ACLU of Arizona webpage “Restore Your Voting Rights.”

If you are an out-of-county, domestic military voter, information is available on the Arizona Secretary of State’s website about contacting your County Recorder. Your County Recorder can provide information about submitting a ballot online, by fax, or by mail. If you are an overseas military voter, you can visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s website to find the toll-free number you need to call to be connected to your County Recorder. You can also use their Live Chat service for information on overseas voting.

If you are a non-military, long-distance voter, you can vote by mail by contacting your County Recorder.

Ron Barber Takes a Stand for Women’s Health

Editor’s Note: What follows is our unedited, exclusive interview with Ron Barber, the candidate who is running to complete Gabrielle Giffords’ term in Congressional District 8. Barber has worked with Giffords since she was elected to Congress in 2006, after which he became the head of her Tucson office. He is endorsed by both Giffords and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Prior to his work with Giffords, he navigated bureaucratic red tape as head of the Southern Arizona branch of the state’s Division of Developmental Disabilities, advocating for vulnerable members of the community. With strong bipartisan support, and strong roots in Southern Arizona, Barber will stand for CD8 in Washington — but first, he needs your vote. The election will be held on June 12, 2012; you can also vote by early ballot.

“Our federal and state budgets should reflect our values and not the extreme positions of a few legislators.”

Please give me a little background on yourself: where you grew up, your education, how long you’ve lived in Tucson.

I have lived here in Southern Arizona most of my life, running a small business with my wife, Nancy, and helping solve community problems — whether it was heading up Congresswoman Giffords’ district operations to help people get results by cutting through federal agency red tape, or working for 35 years to look out for people with disabilities.

I was born in England, but went to high school in Tucson, where I met my wife, Nancy. We were high school sweethearts — we first started dating in 1960 and have been together ever since. I went to the University of Arizona, here in Tucson, and received a bachelor’s degree. I’ve lived in Tucson for over 50 years — my children and grandchildren all live here as well.

What women’s health care issues do you see will need to be addressed in the remainder of this legislative term and in the next?

Access to basic care is still a major issue for women’s health. We must ensure that regardless of state laws on abortions or funding, Planned Parenthood and other clinics continue to receive funds to provide basic health care to women — from cancer screenings to mammograms. Continue reading

Special Election on June 12: Ron Barber Stands with Planned Parenthood

It’s pretty safe to say that nearly all of the political advertisements and newspaper articles covering the Congressional District 8 race between Ron Barber and Jesse Kelly have focused on Social Security and Medicare. But, the issue of women’s health care is also critical — and one that hasn’t received much attention.

Jesse Kelly is an avowed anti-choice candidate and has received support from the National Right to Life Political Action Committee. Barber, when asked about his position on choice and women’s health care, said he has always been pro-choice and believes women’s health care decisions must be made between women and their doctors.

Ron Barber is running to finish Gabrielle Giffords’ term in the June 12, 2012, special election. Early voting starts on May 17.

“There has been too much political debate about limiting our freedoms,” he told us. “Women have the right to make their own choices about contraception and any interference from the government or employers is an affront to personal liberty.”

The debate on women’s health care used to center on abortion. It has now expanded to include the availability of contraception and the “right to refusal” — so-called consciousness clauses that allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency contraception, employers to opt out of providing insurance coverage for birth control, and health care providers to refuse emergency care for pregnant women. Barber, as do most Americans, believes that the “availability of contraception was an issue we settled 50 years ago” and employers, insurance companies, and pharmacists should not put themselves between a woman and her doctor. Continue reading