Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Women and the Vote Part 2 - January 5 1918

The robocalls are silent.  The political ads are stilled.  The polls in New York State open soon (6am).

Today is the day many in the United States have been waiting for.  We await the results while holding our breaths.

I want to address this post today particularly to the women of this country.  

Why must women vote today?

Perhaps because of this ballot box.
Or because of the small crowd that gathered in the village of Lisle, New York on June 1, 1918 (some of them descendants of a certain woman).

Maybe because of what happened in the building to the right on January 5, 1918.  The building is vacant now, but history happened here 100 years ago.

Perhaps this newspaper will make you wonder.

And this may help you guess.

It's hard to believe, but 101 years ago today, women in New York State still did not have the right to vote.  In fact, the first woman to vote in New York State voted on January 5, 1918, in the building you see above.

And her vote was placed into the above unassuming box.  You know, Januaries tend to be harsh around here, with lots of snow and cold.  Someone at the ceremony to dedicate this sign told me it was 20 below zero F the day Florence B. Chauncey voted.

Mrs. Chauncey was the wife of a local minister, and the election was to determine if Lisle would be "dry" or not (i.e. no alcohol sales permitted).

She fought for the right to vote, yet never told her children she was the first women.  But she always asked them, once they were adults "did you vote?"  Because she knew how precious that right was - the right she had to fight for.

Yes.  If you are a woman, thank certain dedicated women (and men) of the early 20th century, who fought for your right to vote.  And not just to ban alcohol sales or not.  For President.  For Congress.  For local and national leaders.

Today, you can exercise this without a care  Or not.  But I hope you will.  Or have already.  Because many women, and men, in this world, risk their very lives in order to vote.

Today, the future of our country depends on you.  And me.  All of us.

To quote the late Brent Taylor:

"As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election .... I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote. And that whether the Republicans or the Democrats win, that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us."

Remember: even one vote can determine the course of history.  Might it be yours?


  1. My grandmother was an immigrant to this country. From the day she became a citizen, she made sure to vote in every election. When age and illness made it too difficult to go to the polls, she insisted on an absentee ballot. She understood.

  2. I always think of the line from the movie Mary Poppins, sung by the amazing Glynis Johns: "Our Daughters' daughters will adore us, and they'll sing in grateful chorus: Well done! Sister Suffragettes!"
    I have always been grateful to those women who came before. Who made this MY right. Thank you!

  3. I cannot imagine how I would have felt living in a time before women were able to vote. How frustrated and degraded all those women must have felt.

  4. On days when I don't really feel like making the trek to the polling place, I remember how many women fought for the right, and I go. It wasn't an issue today, but in prior elections, I voted when I might not have otherwise thinking that.


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