WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Tuesday he will pardon Susan B. Anthony, a leader in the women’s suffrage movement, who was arrested for voting in 1872 in violation of laws permitting only men to vote.
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.
“She was never pardoned,” Trump said. “What took so long?” He said he would sign “a full and complete pardon later Tuesday.
Trump’s pardon comes 100 years after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which ensured women the right to vote. It’s also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.
His move also comes amid an outcry over Postal Service disruptions that Democrats say endanger the voting rights of millions of Americans who would vote by mail in November amid the pandemic. Trump has denied asking for the mail to be delayed even as he leveled fresh criticism on mail-in voting.
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.
The 19th Amendment states that “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 gravesite 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.