Last night I filled out my absentee ballot. Today it went off on on civic journey to the land of the registrar of voters. On November 4th, someone will check my signature on the back, slit the envelope open, and I will be yet another voter taking part in a historical election.
I’m not the first woman in my family to vote nor will I be the last. My 21 year old niece will be voting in her first election. It’s a long tradition in my family–women who used their voting rights.
In 1920, women won the right to vote in the United States. I’ve searched through the early voter registration logs for California. There I found a long list of Pacheco, de Braga, Jones, Jackson, Lassalle, and Mazeres women exercising their right.
It was cool to find both my Grandmother, Anna (Mazeres) Lassalle and her mother, Brigitte (Breilh) Mazeres registered to vote right off the bat. I delighted in the fact that Anna changed her party a couple of times, never to coincide with her husband’s party affiliation. Brigitte was an independent. The liberated spirit alive and well in my family!
I take the right to vote very seriously. A democracy cannot survive if it’s citizens don’t participate in this basic right. I’m glad to see that the women in my family took it seriously as well.
So, if you are hemming and hawing as to whether you want to vote this year, remember your grandmother and your great grandmother. Remember the fact that they probably didn’t have the right to vote when they turned 18 and how proud they must have been to be able to stand in line with the men and cast their ballots.
Now go out and vote!
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com