3/4 of states have to approve a proposed amendment. There were 48 states in 1920, so 36 states were needed. Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th amendment, allowing women the right to vote nationwide.
But, the state of Oregon allowed women to vote 7 years before it was legal across the nation.
“Today, when 4 of the 5 top statewide elected officials are women, the chief justice is a woman, [look] how far we’ve traveled on this trail,” said Kerry Tymchuk, the head of the Oregon Historical Society.
August 18th, 1920 was the day women across the U.S. were given the right to vote after the 19th amendment was ratified.
“The heroine in Oregon was a courageous lady named Abigail Scott Duniway, she came across the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon as a teenage girl with her family, settled in Oregon and fought for half a century.” Tymchuk said.
He says Duniway went head to head with her brother, a man named Harvey Scott, an editor for The Oregonian. “He would editorialize against giving women the right to vote,” Tymchuk said.
After several failed attempts to legalize voting for women, Oregon finally passed the measure.
“Oregon beat most of the nation to the punch, it was 1912 when Oregon men, finally, on the 6th time, passed a ballot measure giving women the right to vote in Oregon,” said Tymchuk.
2 years later, a southern Oregon woman named Marian B. Towne was elected the state’s first female legislator.
“Jackson County voters in 1914 were the first to elect a woman to the Oregon state legislature,” Tymchuk said.
Jackson County Commissioner, Colleen Roberts agrees voting rights for women are critical.
“It is an opportunity to represent the people and have stand and a platform to make a difference. That’s what happened a 100 years ago, they made a stand and some spunk and fight and boy, we needed that more than ever,” said Roberts.
A virtual event commemorating the 100th year of women’s voting rights is being held online here.
An exhibit honoring suffragists is also being featured throughout the year at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland.
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