Dakota County Historical Society
To preserve, interpret and promote the history of Dakota County

Fewer women have been given the right to vote throughout history, though it was not unheard of. While there were a few local United States jurisdictions, mainly in the West, that earlier franchised women, it was not until August 26, 1920 and the passage of the 19th Amendment that all women in the United States were granted an equal right to vote.

When word came on August 26, 1920, that the 19th Amendment had been ratified, signed into law, and properly enrolled, the city of South St. Paul quickly scheduled a special election the next morning on a water bond referendum, and beginning at 5:30 a.m., women lined up to cast their ballots.

This "first in the nation" event was recognized by a resolution passed by the Minnesota State Senate in S.R. No. 5, June 16, 2006.

Miss Marguerite Newburgh of South St. Paul voted on August 27, 1920 at 6:00 a.m. in her precinct and is sometimes given the title of first woman to vote under the 19th Amendment.

There appears to be some discrepancy as to who is credited with casting the first vote by a woman after passage of the 19th Amendment. While there is evidence to show it was a voter from the South St. Paul election, records have provided two different names, with very little proof to verify. Some say Mrs. Kate Michelmore of South St Paul cast the first vote under the 19th Amendment in 1920. However, other sources have mentioned that it was Mrs. Marguerite Newburgh of South St. Paul. Either way, extending the franchise to women appears to be another Dakota County "first."

DCHS is seeking someone to more carefully research this topic, in anticipation of a centennial observance rightly to be held on August 27, 2020.

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