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Politics Woman Born Before 19th Amendment Honored By State Senate for Encouraging Voting

15:35  19 september  2021
15:35  19 september  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

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Born one year before the 19th Amendment was ratified, Thelma Koelmel spent more than 80 years heading to the polls to cast her vote. For her civic engagement and inspiring people to exercise their right to vote, the 101-year-old Watertown, New York resident was recently awarded the New York State Senate Commendation Award by State Senator Patty Ritchie.

A 101-year-old woman was recently honored for her civic engagement and inspiring people to exercise their right to vote. © Paul J. Richards/Getty Images A 101-year-old woman was recently honored for her civic engagement and inspiring people to exercise their right to vote.

"Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and a right that many fought hard to attain," said Ritchie in a press release.

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Commendation awards are presented to those who made significant contributions to their community. The press release explains that recipients devote their time, energy, creativity and expertise to others. They are also community leaders who inspire others to make a difference.

Koelmel was interviewed by WWNYTV for voting in the 2020 general election. In that interview, she said she voted in every presidential election since 1940—the first presidential election she participated in between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie. This election secured Roosevelt his third term in office after winning by a comfortable margin.

"Take advantage of it," she said. "There's so many people that don't have it. They can't do it. They can't change anything. If you don't like it, you can change it."

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The Pew Research Center reported that voter turnout soared during the 2020 presidential election. Of those who were registered to vote, nearly 158.4 million ballots were cast, which works out to be about two-thirds of estimated eligible voters. The Pew Research Center also reported voter turnout increased in every state during the general election.

The road to granting voting rights to women was long, difficult and it was not always inclusive.

Activists lobbied elected officials and participated in marches and protests, until the 19th Amendment, ratified on August 18, 1920, which gave American women the right to vote. However, minority women were barred from voting. It wasn't until legislation that came in the years following the ratification of the 19th Amendment that all women were able to vote in elections.

"While many people don't take advantage of the opportunity to vote, it is truly amazing that at 101-years-old, Thelma Koelmel has continued to do so," said Ritchie. "It is my honor to present her with the Senate's Commendation Award and I would like to thank her for inspiring so many others to be civically engaged."

Newsweek reached out to Senator Patty Ritchie but did not hear back by press time.

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Texas Democrats Employ New Tactic to Stall Voting Rights Bill With Lengthy Filibuster .
The filibuster began just hours after the Texas House of Representatives delivered civil arrest warrants for more than 50 absent Democrats.Democrat Carol Alvarado stood in running shoes on the Senate floor and began her filibuster shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday by speaking indefinitely, never sitting down. She admitted that this was unlikely to stop the bill from passing but did it anyway.

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