As controversy swirls over mail-in voting in this year’s election, President Donald Trump said Tuesday he will pardon Susan B. Anthony, a women’s suffrage leader arrested for voting in 1872 in violation of laws permitting only men to vote.
Trump’s move comes amid an outcry over U.S. Postal Service changes that Democrats claim endanger the voting rights of millions of Americans who would vote by mail in November during the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump has denied asking for the mail to be delayed, though he has leveled fresh criticism on mail-in voting.
The president’s comments Tuesday came during a White House event commemorating the 19th Amendment during which he also emphasized the need for “honest voting.”
“Win, lose or draw, we have to get it right,” Trump said, adding that mail-in voting, as opposed to absentee voting, leads to ballots cast by pets and the deceased.
“We have to have honest voting. That’s what this is all about here. we have to have honest voting,” he said.
Trump also said he would sign “a full and complete pardon” later Tuesday, the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which ensured women the right to vote.
It’s also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.
— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) August 18, 2020
Anthony is best known for her role in the movement to secure voting rights for women, but she also was a strong anti-slavery and voting rights pioneer.
In recent weeks, Trump has stepped up his events aimed at women.
The president’s campaign has launched a “women for Trump” bus tour, and Trump has embraced a “law and order” message with renewed vigor.
Anthony was arrested for voting in her hometown of Rochester, New York, and convicted in a widely publicized trial.
Although she refused to pay the fine, the authorities declined to take further action.
Susan B. Anthony played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement.
After voting for the Republican ticket, she was found guilty of illegally voting by an all-male jury in 1873.
Nearly 150 years later, @realDonaldTrump is issuing a full pardon to this American hero!
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) August 18, 2020
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.”
Congress passed it in 1919, and the amendment was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920.
Visiting Anthony’s grave site in Rochester on Election Day has become a popular ritual in recent years.
Thousands turned out in 2016 for the presidential match-up between Trump and Hillary Clinton.
In 2018, voters showed up by the dozens to put their “I Voted” stickers on her headstone.
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