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The first woman voter cast her ballot in St. Paul after the 19th Amendment was passed more than 100 years ago


MINNEAPOLIS– The 2022 election results will be in next Tuesday night, but as we look forward to voting, WCCO is looking back over 100 years to when Minnesota made history after the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote .

Voting has a long and proud tradition in the state, which the Dakota County Historical Society values.

He kept a ballot box that was used in local elections in the early 1900s.

“It originally started as a Civil War medical box,” said DCHS executive director Matt Carter. “It belonged to Dr. Percival Barton, a doctor from Inver Grove.”

The first woman voter cast her ballot in St. Paul after the 19th Amendment was passed more than 100 years ago
A preserved ballot box that was used in local elections in the early 1900s.

SCS


The box is an appropriate artifact for the county where a major milestone in American politics took place.

“South St. Paul has the nexus of having the first women in the nation to vote after the passage of the 19th Amendment,” Carter said.

The historic constitutional amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920.

Remarkably, there is a video clip of that very first woman, Marguerite Newburgh, voting in South St. Paul the day after the Secretary of State signed the amendment.

“About 90 women woke up early, lined up to register to vote in South St. Paul and they were the ones who voted,” Carter said.

Women were voting on a local bond referendum. The votes of each gender were tracked separately in case the 19th Amendment was later invalidated. It turns out that without the women, the referendum would not have passed.

It took some time for women in Minnesota to become a major voting bloc.

“It really took until the ’60s and ’70s before women started to get actively involved,” said Michelle Witte, executive director of the Minnesota League of Women Voters. “The turnout was very low, but since then…Minnesota [women] and all [female] voters nationwide voted at higher rates than men. »

Witte says she believes some of the reasons Minnesota consistently has such high turnout is because two female secretaries of state make elections more accessible and safer.


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