100th Anniversary of Utah Ratifying the 19th Amendment

One hundred years ago today, Utah became the 17th state to ratify the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. Senate Joint Resolution No. 1(SJR 1*) was signed into law on October 3, 1919 after unanimously passing the Utah State Legislature.

Our state has been at the forefront of women’s rights. Fifty years before most women in the country were able to participate in the election process, a Utah school teacher, Seraph Young, cast the first vote by a woman in the United States under our equal suffrage law in 1870. Twenty-three years before women were granted the right to vote in our nation, Utah elected the first-ever female state senator, Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon, in 1897.

U.S. Congress revoked voting rights for Utah women in 1887. However, Utah reinstated the right of women to vote in 1896 with the adoption of the Utah State Constitution. By the time Sen. Elizabeth Hayward sponsored SJR 1, women in Utah had been voting for 40 years and 14 women were elected to state House of Representatives, two to the Utah State Senate and at least 118 women as county officers.

Utah was one of the early states to ratify the 19th Amendment helping lead the way to improve our great nation. About a year later, in August of 1920, the United States would have the 36 states (¾) needed for the constitutional amendment to become law.

As we commemorate this historic anniversary, Utahns should be proud of their state’s role in the women’s suffrage movement. May we honor those who paved the way to grant women the right to vote in our great nation. 

 – Senate President J. Stuart Adams

*SJR 1, A Joint Resolution Ratifying An Amendment To The Constitution Of The United States, Proposed By The Joint Resolution Of The Senate And House Of Representatives Of The United States, Providing That The Right Of Citizens To Vote Shall Not be Denied Or Abridged On Account of Sex.