Political Cartoon published on the front page of the Eau Claire Leader after the final state needed ratified the nineteenth amendment. Eau Claire Leader. August, 1920. 

On June 10, 1919, Illinois ratified the Nineteenth Amendment just hours before Wisconsin did. However, due to an error in procedure by the Illinois legislature, Wisconsin won the race to Washington D.C. and became the first official state to ratify the amendment.

Following the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, women around the area began to prepare for the upcoming 1920 election, the first they could fully participate in. The Eau Claire Woman's Club and the Eau Claire League of Women Voters were among the organizations that stepped up to help organize.  To prepare local women to vote for the first time, multiple meetings took place in the city of Eau Clarie and surrounding areas to help educate women about the election process.

Through newspapers, journals, diaries, letters, and numerous other sources, the story of the Chippewa Valleys involvement in the Suffrage Movement can be told 100 years later.  As years passed following the election of 1920, women in the area continued to be active within politics. Their goals were to help gain interest around the area by promoting the imporatance of voting and educating one's self on every candidate to make informed decisions. The involvement of women in politics around the country continued to grow as years went by.

The Local League

The First Election

Growing Interest and Support

For many women in America however, the passage of the 19th Amendment signified not the end, but the beginning of their fight for suffrage.  The challenge for women of color was magnified by additional obstacles that supressed their rights and challenged their citizenship. Many minorities in 1920 were still denied the right to vote either by law or by practice.  American Indian women would not be granted citizenship, and the right to vote, until 1924.   Asian Americans were long blocked from citizenship and Asian American women won the vote starting in 1943.  Black Americans have been systematically denied voting rights through poll taxes, literacy tests, violence, and other intimidation tactics. Throughout the 20th century many women, especially women from minority groups, would continue to face opposition and voter suppression.  The passage of 19th Amendment was a hard-won victory but also only one part of the continuing fight for equal voting rights for all Americans.