Congressional Voting Cards
Created in 1915, the National Woman’s Party Congressional Voting Card (CVC) Index served as a strategic database of information detailing the personal lives and political preferences of the Congressmen and Senators that they lobbied. The NWP tracked all correspondence and personal interviews through this system. The cards were frequently reviewed and updated to ensure that the information recorded was as accurate and current as possible; they would be used by other NWP members to further lobbying efforts.
Typed or handwritten on 5 x 8 index cards, the NWP captured the name of the Representative or Senator, their state, district, and party, their position on the ERA, the place of the interview, and the purpose of the interview. The name of the interviewer and their home address were listed in the middle of the card. Statements the interviewee made or remarks by the interviewer regarding the success of the visit were recorded in the lower half of the card.
At the time of its implementation, the Congressional Voting Card Index was considered cutting-edge technology. Lobbyists continue to use this strategy of documentation today.
The collection currently has about 3000 cards, a small portion of the total file over its history. The card file is only partially digitized but additional cards are frequently added to the online catalog.
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This Congressional Voting Card notes Senator Kennedy’s voting abstention on the ERA and attached Hayden Rider in 1954.