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Votes for Women

Women's Suffrage Centennial

Excerpts from the Vernon County Censor

JUNE 1, 1887
Rev. Olympia Brown, president of the Wisconsin Woman’s Suffrage Association, will lecture in the M.E. church, Viroqua, on Friday and Saturday evenings of this week. On Sunday she will preach at 3PM at the rink [former roller skating rink at 311 N. Main St., which was converted into a meeting place in 1885]. On Monday evening she will lecture at Newton and on Tuesday evening, June 7, at Chaseburg. All are invited to attend. A collection will be taken. Mrs. Brown is one of the foremost orators in the northwest. Her subjects will be “Woman and Education,” “The Womanhood of America,” “The Symbol of Liberty.”

JUNE 8, 1887
Suffrage lectures: The lectures given by Mrs. Olympia Brown Willis, Friday and Saturday, were fairly well attended, the audiences being quite largely of the female persuasion. The Woman Suffrage Society of the state made no mistake in selecting as the president and head of the association so able and eloquent a champion as Mrs. Willis. Her propositions are supported with force and argument. She contends that intelligence, not sex, should determine the qualifications of a voter in a great and enlightened country like America; that woman is not the inferior of man in any of the qualities that enter into the upbuilding of the best things of the world; the very cornerstone of our government is founded on our educational system; who will maintain that woman is not in the vanguard in this progressive march? Mrs. Willis devoted much time advocating that the resolution adopted at the last election confers almost universal suffrage on women and advised them to assert their authority by offering their ballots at every election till the supreme court renders a decision on that point. However the author of the resolution declares that he did not intend or the legislature contemplate that a construction other than extending the right to suffrage in school matters should be attached to the resolution.

As a whole Mrs. Willis’ lectures furnish much food for thought, were interesting and instructive.

FEB. 19, 1919
Suffrage for women in Wisconsin for presidential voting, went through the senate with a dash on Wednesday, 28 to 4. The assembly voted 80 to 8. Giving a total of 104 votes for to 12 votes against the proposition in the two houses.

MARCH 26, 1919
WOMEN VOTERS! You have the right to vote for County Superintendent of Schools. You may also vote for a woman – not because she is a woman, but because she is eminently more qualified for the position than her opponent.

APRIL 2, 1919
By a substantial majority the voters of Vernon county, at Tuesday’s election, decided that a man, instead of a woman, is preferred to manage their educational affairs. The campaign was conducted in a spirited manner and leaves no doubt of the attitude of the people on that question.

JULY 7, 1920
Wisconsin women will vote at the general election next November, and women voters will be subject to only those restrictions which apply to men voters.

SEPT. 1, 1920
The ratification of Tennessee of woman suffrage was certified to Washington and signed by Secretary Colby in spite of desperate efforts to prevent it, and equal suffrage is now the law of the land. Women can cast their ballot at the primary election September 7th.

The women of Jefferson town have requested the town officials that they be represented on the election board, and one lady member will be appointed.

Women do not have to register in order to vote in cities of less than 5,000 population.

SEPT. 8, 1920
And did the women vote? We’ll say they did! 350 of them voted in Viroqua city. Miss I.S. Hamilton was first, voting by mail from Rochester hospital. Mrs. L.L. Baptie cast the first ballot in person. Inspector Lucie Dawson graciously yielding that privilege when she might have appropriated the coveted honor. And where is the man who said “Women wouldn’t vote given the privilege?” Why he’s buried in the same grave with the man, who said “Prohibition doesn’t prohibit.”