On November 8, 1910, Washington state's male electorate ratifies Amendment 6 to the state constitution granting women the right to vote. Breaking a 14-year gridlock in the national woman suffrage crusade, the state becomes the fifth in the nation to enfranchise women. Two outstanding women led the Washington crusade: Emma Smith DeVoe of Tacoma and May Arkwright Hutton of Spokane. DeVoe was a paid organizer for the National American Woman Suffrage Association and president of the Washington Equal Suffrage Association. Hutton, a wealthy mine owner and philanthropist, spearheaded the efforts of Eastern Washington and was one of the most influential suffrage leaders on the state level.
No Denial of the Elective Franchise
The relevant sentence in Amendment 6 reads: "There shall be no denial of the elective franchise at any election on account of sex." The Amendment still retained the following language: "That Indians not taxed shall never be allowed the elective franchise" (Washington State Constitution, 1910).
The vote count for suffrage in Washington was as follows:
Yes - 52,299
No - 29,676
Washington's enactment of woman suffrage opened the floodgates for other Western states, which quickly voted to enfranchise women. Women in the more entrenched Eastern and Southern states had to wait until 1920, when they gained equal suffrage through ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
It was proposed by a resolution of Congress on June 4, 1919. The U. S. Secretary of State declared it ratified on August 26, 1920.