Woman's work? Tubman wins poll to become face of $20 bill

Harriet Tubman, circa 1870
HB Lindsey | Underwood Archives | Getty Images
Harriet Tubman, circa 1870

Move over, Andrew Jackson—after 87 years of tenure, Harriet Tubman is looking to take your job.

At least that's the outcome some citizens support. This week, the New York-based advocacy group Woman on 20s announced that the abolitionist was the winner of its campaign to put a female face on the $20 bill.

Barbara Ortiz Howard, founder of Women on 20s, told CNBC that she has arranged an "informational meeting" with President Barack Obama's Council on Women and Girls, and will be exploring what the process of printing these new bills could entail.

"We hope to continue to be a conduit for the enthusiasm surrounding this," Howard said about the possibility of anointing Tubman as a new face on the U.S. currency.

Read MoreWomen on 20s aims to put a feminine face on a bill

Former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt was also a frontrunner during the primary polls, yet ultimately placed second. Other names in the poll included Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony and Margaret Sanger.

Since the effort began in January 2014, a number of historic female names have been floated as potential replacements for Jackson's face on the $20 bill. One notable name was the "Godess of the Market," author and free market champion Ayn Rand.

The campaign has attracted national attention. Although Tubman has wide backing, not everyone supports the idea. A lively debate has flourished on the Internet, dividing into camps those who believe the time for a change has come, and others who slam the effort as political correctness.

Earlier this week, actress Raven-Symone stirred controversy when she suggested on "The View" that Tubman might not be a suitable replacement.

"No offense to everyone that's going to be mad at me for saying this, I don't like that idea [of Harriet Tubman on the $20]," Symone said.

"I think we need to move a little bit more forward ... Me personally, I would have chosen Rosa Parks," she added. "I would have chosen someone that is closer to the progression that we're doing now."

Anyone can do it, but they have to be dead

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According to the Federal Reserve, the majority of banknote redesigns occur in an effort to stay ahead of counterfeiting threats. While the last redesign of the $1 note was in 1963, excluding the $2 bill, all other currency denominations have been reissued in the last 12 years. The $20 note was redesigned in 2003.

The average circulation life of a $20 bill is 7.9 years. In 2014 more than 1.7 billion bills featuring the nation's seventh president were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Approximately 30 percent of all notes printed in 2014 were $20 bills.

The secretary of the treasury selects the designs of bank notes, based on the advice of officials from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. While the Treasury cannot say for sure why certain presidents and statesmen were chosen for specific denominations, they do note on their website that "currency notes are of deceased persons whose places in history the American people know well."

The only requirement is that whoever appears on a note must be deceased.

Read MoreDon't doubt the dollar, CNBC survey says

Howard said Women on 20s now has a new initiative in the works to engage more support from the public. Howard could not offer further information on a initiative to change other denominations but said the focus right now is on the $20 bill campaign.

"The message is a celebration of women's contributions and celebration of our centennial, not meant for controversy," said Howard.