On the eve of Election Day we remember another election day, November 2, 1915. That day New York State voters made their feeling known about the passage of an amendment to the State’s Constitution granting women the right to vote, and the news was not good. Despite years of campaigning, speaking, writing, petitioning and marching for the vote, suffragists were disappointed. Voters in New York and other eastern states defeated the measure in discouraging numbers: 553, 348 for to 748, 332 against in NY alone. Measures in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts were defeated as well.
Still, the Woman’s Journal and Suffrage News optimistically reported “Million Votes Cast for Women in First Eastern Campaign. More than 500,000 vote ‘Yes’ in New York State.” New York State rolled up a vote of more than half a million for suffrage, and defeated the amendment by only about 175,000…Suffrage carried seven counties in New York (including our own Nassau County). The author concluded “The election showed that the day of full enfranchisement is not far distant.”
After a short period of mourning suffrage leaders regrouped, and vowed to “work harder than ever before.” Since they had to wait two years for the next opportunity they used that time well, finally tasting victory in 1917.
But November 2, 1915 was a sad day for all.