This past Tuesday, folks from every corner of our great state had an opportunity to get out and let their voices be heard.
Just one day before Election Day, however, women across the state celebrated a major milestone in the state’s history. Monday, Nov. 5 marked the 100th anniversary of women having the right to vote here in Michigan.
From the mid to late 1800s, several women’s groups formed, making it their ultimate goal to obtain the right to vote for women in the state of Michigan. The journey for women’s suffrage expanded to reach every corner of the state, and without the activism of these individuals, Michigan would not have been on the right side of history when it comes to women’s right to vote.
The effort to gain women’s suffrage in Michigan began in 1855 with a petition campaign. Over a decade later, the first bill to extend the right to vote to women was defeated by one vote in the Legislature. Several years and countless hours of passionate activism later, in 1870 a women’s suffrage bill was passed by the Legislature, only to be vetoed by then-Gov. Henry Baldwin.
However, after several attempts, on Nov. 5, 1918, women activists and their supporters convinced Michiganders to approve an amendment to the state constitution giving women the right to vote. The amendment was approved with nearly 55 percent of the vote, extending suffrage to Michigan women.
Michigan voters approved this amendment before the National Suffrage Amendment, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, was passed by Congress on June 5, 1919.
It took several attempts and the journey lasted several decades, but the tireless efforts of Michigan women paid off.
We are now in a time when women are more active in the political process, and we are setting records with the number of women pursuing elected office.
You should never take for granted your right to be a part of the political process, and it is my hope that every Michigander — man or woman — had the chance to get out and exercise their civic duty earlier this week.