63. Illinois Suffrage Act (1913)

Background: Women's suffrage movements began in Illinois as early as the 1860s, although attempts to grant women the right to vote as part of the 1870 Illinois constitution failed. In 1873, a statute was passed giving women the opportunity to run for any school office not created by the Illinois Constitution. However, women did not secure any kind of voting rights until almost two decades later when, in 1891, women were given the right to vote for school officers. Women who voted were given a separate ballot and ballot box in which to vote. With the continued work of several organizations – including the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association, the Illinois Federation of Women's Clubs, and the Chicago Political Equality League – women in Illinois in 1913 secured the right to vote for president. However, women were still unable vote for legislators on both the state and federal level. Full woman's suffrage in Illinois was not realized until the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution in 1920.

The Document: On June 26, 1913, Governor Edward Dunne signed the suffrage bill into law, giving women the right to vote for President as well as local officers. This made Illinois the first state east of the Mississippi River to give women the right to vote for President. On June 4, 1919, the U.S. Congress passed the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, giving women the full right to vote. Just six days later, along with Wisconsin and Michigan, Illinois ratified the amendment. With Tennessee's ratification on August 20, 1920, the 19th Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution.

Note: This enrolled law is available at the Illinois State Archives as part of Secretary of State Record Series 103.030, "Enrolled Acts of the General Assembly."