b'final mattersExercising our RightIts time to voteBY MICHELLE BOBROWT heVirginiaSlimssloganMichelle Bobrow helps a Maplewoodof the 1960s and 70s was Youvecomealongway, baby and we women cer-tainlyhave.Fromthein-ceptionofthewomensresident check her voter registration atmovementforsuffrageinthe Maplewood Library.1848 it took 70 years to gain sufficient momentum for the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 allowing women theprivilegetovote.(NewJersey women had enjoyed suffrage for nearly 20 years, beginning in 1789. But whopenalty,creationofthepositionofstate, where I serve as a debate modera-had the right? Not women of color. Not immigrants. Not the poor. And we stilllieutenantgovernor,theloweringoftor and hold nonpartisan voter regis-fight to enfranchise all women for that right.) the minimum voting age to 18, andtration training sessions for volunteers. I was fortunate to have been born into an educated, professional family, increatingstandardsforcleanairandThis election year is different than a progressive suburb with a good school system. I attended college in the yearswater. We also collaborated with localany other year Ive seen and its all the when women were beginning to take higher education as a given, and not justgroups at the public works yard on re- more important for everyone of voting as a finishing school, earning a degree to support myself if, and when, needed.cycling day, heaving bundles of paper,ageespecially womento vote. All My parents knew of too many women who were left single with no means ofcrushing cans and breaking bottles toregisteredvoterswillreceiveaballot earning a living and did not want that for their daughter. They were first genera- ready them for the recyclers. beginningSeptember29andshould tion, with expectations of doing better than their parents, and working hard toOur work has also involved inter- return it by mail or in a ballot drop enter the middle class. viewingmunicipalofficialsandpro- box at the Police Building, or at their Ive been involved with social service organi- ducing booklets to help new residentspolling location. Register to vote if you zations all my adult life. But the League ofget to know their town and schools.have not done so, if you will be 18 by Women Voters (LWV) spoke to me whenWeve taught elementary-age studentsNovember 3, or have changed your ad-I wanted stimulating conversation with in- and a Girl Scout troop about the his- dress, at nj.gov/state/elections. Polls are teresting and involved people, ready to rolltoryofMaplewood,takingthemtoopen but only for a provisional ballot up our sleeves and go out drumming up in- various Maplewood offices to see howor those who are physically unable to terest in elections, explaining the issues of thelocal government works. And duringfill out a ballot. day and their importance.graduationrehearsal,weheldvoterIm still working on getting the mes-TheLWVisagrassrootsorganizationregistration drives at Columbia Highsageout,obtainingconverts,andde-that exists to create a more perfect democracySchool, and answered many questionscreasing our long way to go, baby. through education, engagement and empower- from seniors about upcoming electionsMichelle is a member of the League of mentfocusing on voter registration, local de- and about voting when they went offWomen Voters of Maplewood-South Or-bates, and life issues in a nonpartisan yet activistto college.ange who hopes that she has infected her manner. Ive been active with the LWV notgranddaughter with her passion for the We worked on elimination of New Jerseys deathonly in Maplewood, but also with thepolitical process.50/ matters magazine / fall 2020'