When American women voters go to the polls in November 2012, many will be more aware than ever of the 72-year suffrage movement it took to win their right to vote.

It’s unusual for the suffrage movement to be referenced in political campaigns. However, this is occurring more frequently, such as with First Lady Michelle Obama’s address to the Democratic Convention in September 2012 when she referred to suffrage activists being “dragged off to jail” in 1917 to win the franchise. Both US presidential candidates in 2012 are actively seeking the votes of women, and numerous commentators are saying that women’s votes could significantly impact the election outcome.

This year Oregon, Kansas, and Arizona are celebrating their centennials of women voting. New York State will hold its suffrage centennial in 2017, and the United States is gearing up to highlight 100 years of women voting in 2020. The western states have been holding suffrage centennial events in recent years to celebrate their victories prior to when the 19th amendment to the US Constitution was ratified in 1920. Wyoming won the vote first for women in 1869.