On suffrage, Washington helped lead the way

On some of the big questions of the early 20th century, our state was a little ahead of the curve. Washington passed a dry law before Prohibition, and on Nov. 8, 1910, a decade before national suffrage, the men of Washington state voted overwhelmingly to grant women the right to vote.

Herald reporter Gale Fiege wrote about it near the 100th anniversary of the vote in 2010:

“Votes for Women,” a statewide suffrage newspaper edited by Missouri Hanna of Edmonds, printed large posters and a recipe for flour paste with which to post the campaign messages. Even timid women can put up posters, the newspaper admonished.

The posters quoted Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Mark Twain in their historical support for women’s suffrage. Other posters noted that women in four other Western states and several other countries already were marking their ballots, so wasn’t it time for Washington women to join them?

In downtown Everett, suffrage club members strung a large golden banner across Hewitt Avenue from their office on the third floor of the Commerce Building at Rockefeller Avenue. It read: “Vote for Amendment, Article VI. It Means Votes for Women.”

The state was the first in a decade to give women the vote. It helped galvanize the national suffrage movement, and a decade later the 19th Amendment made equal voting rights for women the law of the land.

Read more about the suffrage movement in Everett and the rest of the state.

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