Women’s Guide to Voting

It took 72 years for (non-Native) women to get the right to vote after the concept was proposed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton in New York in 1848. It took even longer for all women to get their rights: 1924 for Native Americans to get citizenship, and 1965 for the reduction of barriers for women of color. Most of us wouldn’t join a cause today if we thought it would take that long to see the fruits of our labor. Yet that’s exactly what democracy calls for.

The League of Women Voters continues to fight for full enfranchisement of all people within our democracy today. Each vote we take, each candidate forum we attend, each public committee we join or office we run for, each letter we write to our elected officials: it makes a difference.

Here is how we stand on the shoulders of Minnesota’s voting rights leaders. 

Mary Colburn gives first public lecture on suffrage, Champlin, MN

Jane Grey Swisshelm, St. Cloud journalist, presents to MN House on “Women and Politics”

350 women present suffrage petition to MN House

Suffrage societies are organized by Sarah Burger Stearns in Rochester and Mary Colburn in Champlin

Petition passes MN House and Senate, but vetoed by the Governor

Clara Ueland

MN Legislature approves Constitutional amendment allowing women to vote in school elections; 
several women elected to school boards 

MN Senate and House approve amendment “to allow women to vote on the whiskey question;” 
male voters defeat it

Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA) first incorporated in Hastings

Women granted right to vote and serve on library boards 

MWSA suffrage bill fails to pass

MN Senate suffrage amendment fails

MN Senate bill fails by two votes

MN House bill passes but fails by three votes in the Senate

25 Black MN women hold a charter meeting of the Everywoman Suffrage Club

MN Senate bill fails by one vote

MN House and Senate overwhelmingly pass bill giving women the right to vote for president, 
and MN Legislature ratifies the 19th amendment. MWSA becomes League of Women Voters

19th Amendment becomes law throughout the United States

Native Americans are granted citizenship, making Native women eligible to vote

Voting Rights Act is passed to reduce barriers to voting for people of color