Donald Trump pardons women’s suffrage leader Susan B Anthony

United States President Donald Trump has announced he will posthumously pardon Susan B Anthony, a leader in the women’s suffrage movement, who was arrested for voting in 1872.

Ms 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.

Mr Trump said he would sign “a full and complete pardon” on Tuesday (local time) on 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.

His action comes as his support has been eroding among suburban white women in battleground states since his last campaign, in part because of his harsh rhetoric.

In recent weeks Mr Trump has stepped up his events aimed at women.

His campaign has launched a “women for Trump” bus tour and the President has embraced a “law and order” message with renewed vigour.

The grave of Susan B Anthony
The grave of women’s suffrage leader Susan B Anthony is covered with ‘I Voted’ stickers.(Reuters: Adam Fenster)

Mr Trump’s move also comes amid an outcry over postal service disruptions that Democrats said endangered the voting rights of millions of Americans who would vote by mail in November amid the pandemic.

Mr Trump has denied asking for the mail to be delayed even as he levelled fresh criticism on mail-in voting.

Ms Anthony was arrested for voting in her hometown of Rochester, New York, and convicted in a widely publicised trial.

Although she refused to pay the fine, the authorities declined to take further action.

Black and white photo of women protesting around 1916
Susan B Anthony was an icon of the women’s suffrage movement and inspired other women to campaign for their right to vote.(AP: File)

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 August 18, 1920.

Visiting Ms 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 Mr Trump and Hillary Clinton.

In 2018, voters showed up by the dozens to put their “I Voted” stickers on her headstone.

AP

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