By definition, a milestone is an indicator (physical or otherwise) set along a path to mark the distance to a particular destination.
This year, we marked two significant milestones — 100 years since the passage of the 19th Amendment granting (some) women the right to vote and 55 years since the passage of the Voting Rights Act. These are monumental recognitions which happen to coincide with a pivotal presidential election year. It is pivotal as there are many critical issues at the heart of this political cycle — the pandemic, healthcare, the environment, women’s rights, racial justice, the economy, and on and on.
Over the century, YWCA has helped to blaze this winding trail of civic engagement and the advancement of women’s issues. YWCA USA and your local YWCA Mohawk Valley (YWCA MV) continues to be a voice for empowering not only women and girls, but the most marginalized in our communities.
This year, YWCA USA launched its YWomenVote campaign and accompanying report.
This was our third national survey of women in the United States that provided the most holistic examination of women’s issues and priorities, as well as an in-depth examination of Black, Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, Millennial, and white rural women. It also provided a first-of-its-kind look at Gen Z women.
Regardless of race, background, or political affiliation, the report was clear: women share a collective desire to advance personal and economic security interests in 2020. You can read more about this comprehensive study at ywomenvote.org
At home, YWCA MV’s Racial Justice Committee has held numerous voter registration drives in the City of Utica, including an organized effort on September 22 for National Voter Registration Day. Now, YWCA MV is asking for you to set a personal milestone: register to vote (and/or register others) by the October 9 deadline.
Here are the key dates and information:
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3, and the last day to register to vote is this Friday, Oct. 9!
New York offers online voter registration. You can complete your registration at voterreg.dmv.ny.gov/MotorVoter/ or by printing out a registration form and delivering it in person to your county Board of Elections (depending on which county you reside). The Oneida County Board of Elections is located on the 3rd floor of Union Station at 321 Main Street, Utica, and the Herkimer County Board of Elections is located in the county office building at 109 Mary Street, Herkimer. You can also mail your registration form, postmarked by this Friday!
The Absentee Ballot
As a registered voter, qualifications to vote by Absentee Ballot include the following:
- Absent from your county on Election Day.
- Unable to appear at the polls due to temporary or permanent illness or disability (temporary illness includes being unable to appear due to the risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19).
- Unable to appear because you are the primary caregiver of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled.
- A resident or patient of a Veterans Health Administration Hospital.
- Detained in jail awaiting Grand Jury action or confined in prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony.
Absentee ballot deadlines:
Request: Received by Tuesday, October 27
Return by Mail: Postmarked by election day, Tuesday, November 3 or return in person to your County Board of Elections office by 9 p.m. on Nov. 3.
For more information or an absentee form, visit www.elections.ny.gov/votingabsentee.html.
Registered voters in New York State are eligible to vote early from Saturday, October 24 through Sunday, November 1, 2020.
Oneida County has three (3) early voting sites for the November 3, 2020 General Election. For site locations and times, visit www.ocgovboe.net/oneida-county-early-voting-2020/.
Herkimer County has one early voting site. For up to date information on the site and times, visit http://www.herkimercounty.org/government/board-of-elections.
The path doesn’t end at the voting booth on Nov. 3. In fact, it just begins another leg of our collective journey in achieving peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.
Take a moment to reflect on the milestones we have reached with a centennial of women’s suffrage and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Then, register to vote if you have not already, and encourage a family member or friend to do so by Friday! Make a plan to vote and make your own mark by voting this fall.
“The one thing you’ve got going is your one vote.”
– Shirley Chisholm