The Right to Vote: Then and Now

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, part of a long struggle to expand voting rights for all Americans. This year, we're experiencing a potentially historic election by voting during a pandemic. Read on for more information about women’s suffrage in Illinois and voting in 2020.

Celebrating the 19th Amendment

The 19th Amendment states “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.” This anniversary is a great time to think about the Illinois activists who fought for the rights we have today. View our informational display on women’s suffrage on the 3rd floor of Harold Washington Library Center.

Illinois was among the states where many leaders of the women’s suffrage movement organized, strategized and successfully fought for the expansion of voting rights. In 1894, social reformer and children's rights activist Lucy Flower became the first woman elected to a state office in Illinois. Activist Ida B. Wells, one of the founders of the NAACP, organized the nation’s first suffrage group for Black women, the Alpha Suffrage Club, right here in Chicago.

To learn more about the 19th Amendment in Illinois and the women who fought for it, visit the 19th Amendment: Century Celebration 1920-2020 from the Chicago Board of Elections.

Voting in the 2020 Election

Due to COVID-19, the Chicago Board of Elections is encouraging voters to vote by mail or vote early before Election Day, November 3.

Voting by Mail

Read more about the vote by mail process or apply to vote by mail.

Voting Early

Early Voting sites and hours are posted on the Chicago Board of Elections website.

Register to Vote

Register to vote or check if you're registered on the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

Events at CPL

We’re hosting a variety of online events on nonpartisan election topics.