ORT – A Part of Voting History

The voting history in America is certainly a rich one, and one that has shifted and changed throughout the years. In the beginning only select individuals were able to cast their vote; a small group of people dictated the outcome for many. Eventually, all men were granted the right to vote, no matter their race or ethnic background, and women were included years later. The fight to gain suffrage was not an easy one for those excluded and included over 100 years of political campaigning, until finally all American citizens were granted this civic right. 
Gaining the right for women’s suffrage started even before the civil war, stirring up controversy and beginning to change the culture’s way of thinking. Once the civil war began, this movement lost momentum and was pushed aside while the country was in battle. Almost immediately after the civil war though all men were granted suffrage and officially by 1870 black men were guaranteed the right to vote. Nearly 40 years later, in 1910 a few states started to allow women the choice to exercise their political voice. Nonetheless, the majority of the states resisted. It wasn’t until World War I, when women became part of the workforce that great strides were made. Women’s contributions to the war effort were the final step to giving the women’s suffrage movement the push they needed and by 1920, all women were allowed the same rights as men in casting their vote. 
Voting at ORT College

Last week Van Nuys ORT College had their own part to play in voting history, as a voting site for the 2012 Presidential Election. Collecting ballots from three separate precincts in the Valley, the Van Nuys campus handled a total of over 5,000 votes. “We are proud to have been selected by the Los Angeles County Office of the Registrar as one of the election sites for the mid-valley area,” explains Fred Keivanfar, an ORT College administrator.  As a non-profit organization, Los Angeles ORT College has fostered a long term relationship with the community and considers it an honor to be part of the voting process. The Van Nuys campus will also be involved in the Los Angeles Mayoral Election in the spring of 2013. 

ORT College has been committed to providing quality education and vocational training to diverse students for well over 27 years. Many students of ORT are first generation immigrants and being a part of the voting process was both exciting and motivating. Seeing democracy first-hand encouraged these students to expedite obtaining citizenship, a process that can be overwhelming and time consuming. However, being involved in the political process and bearing witness to the impact a single vote can make is the perfect reminder for these students that citizenship is a goal worth attaining.

LA ORT is a group of nonprofit junior colleges in Los Angeles and Van Nuys provide career training in short term courses.