Could women vote anywhere before the 19th Amendment?

What states allowed women to vote before the passage of the 19th Amendment?

  • Dear Mr. Cole,

    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

    Before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1920, women had voting rights in various capacities as early as 1838!

    The University of Washington - Mapping American Social Movements Project created the Timeline and Map of Women's Suffrage Legislation State by State 1838-1919. It is an educational tool that has an interactive map showing the outcome of women's voting rights.

    We hope this information is helpful.

  • Women and people of color, as long as they met the land-owning requirements of the time, could, and did, vote in New Jersey from 1776 to 1807.

    An oversight in the State's constitution only stipulated the land-owning requirements, not race or sex. A number of women and people of color owned land and are listed on early deeds and patents. Many communities followed the cultural and legal precedents of the Dutch, who allowed women to act equally to men in all manner of commerce, or the Quakers, who viewed all people as equal. You can even search the New Jersey Land Records Database by gender and race:

    Women inherited property as well as bought and sold it. Women also made wills in their own right and distributed their assets as they wished. Under English law though, once they were married, their land became their husband's property—so voting was legally restricted to single women or widowers, although it is not known if any married women voted, it is possible if not probable.

    In 1807, the State legislature changed the law to ban women and people of color from voting—claiming that they could be more easily influenced and, thus, would be open to voter fraud (some things never change). It is estimated that in the elections before 1807 that more than 25% of the votes case were cast by women and people of color—an amazing statistic considering the populace of land-owning people of color and single or widowed women at the time.

    In fact, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton cast her ballot in Tenafly, New Jersey, in 1880, she did so claiming that the tradition of voting was a native right of those of her sex in New Jersey. Cady Stanton owned land and conducted business in her own name throughout her entire life.

  • The Legislative Assembly in the Utah Territory passed a law to give women the vote in February 12, 1870 (a few months after Wyoming Territory had done the same). There was a municipal election in Salt Lake City February 14, 1870 and several women took advantage of the new law. Woman suffrage was removed from Utah Territory as part of Anti-Polygamy laws in 1887, and then restored in the State Constitution, which was ratified by the people of the new State of Utah in 1896.

    You can find more information and several primary sources at At the Utah State Archives we are getting ready to post a collection online in the next few months that includes many of these legislative documents as well.

  • Idaho extended suffrage to women in 1896 via a state constitutional amendment. Idaho was the fourth state to extend this right to women. The Idaho State Archives has compiled a list of resources on this subject as part of the Idaho Women 100 initiative. You can access the toolkit here: