Sat, March 28

VERDE HERITAGE 1920: Arizona Ratified the Woman's Suffrage Amendment on February 12

Arizona men voted on November 5, 1912, to give women the right to vote and hold public office. Arizona was one of the last to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920.


"Believing that a woman should have the honor of introducing the resolution by which Arizona will ratify the amendment to the national constitution granting suffrage to women, Mrs. Nellie A. Hayward, of Douglas, who is a member of the lower house of the state legislature, has prepared a joint resolution on the subject which she will introduce when the special session of the legislature convenes at Phoenix, February 12." (The Coconino Sun; February 13, 1920; page 2.)


"Phoenix, Feb. 12. --- Ratification of the woman suffrage amendment to the constitution of the United States by a special session of the Arizona legislature was completed tonight. The senate adopted the ratifying resolution at 9:15 p.m., following similar action by the house this afternoon. Both branches made it unanimous and the legislature adjourned. Arizona is the 31st state to ratify the amendment."

"Governor Campbell in a message which he held before a joint session of the houses, shortly after noon, said that while Arizona already had enjoyed the beneficial effects of women's participation with men in voting, it had been represented to him that the women of several other states were likely to be deprived of voting in primaries to be held in March unless ratification of the national amendment were expedited. For that reason, he said, he had called the legislature in special session earlier than he had intended. The governor said he anticipated no division of opinion as to ratification."

"There existed in some quarters, Governor Campbell said, some disapproval of the special session for the purpose it was called, on the ground of expense. Partly to meet that objection, he reiterated in his message the suggestion he previously had made to the chairman of the patronage committees that state capitol employees be drafted to serve without pay other than the salaries they ordinarily received in their deparments."

"The house justified the government's prediction by adopting the ratifying resolution without a dissenting vote within 2 hours after the governor finished speaking. The resolution drawn by Representative Nellie Hayward, Cochise County, was introduced by all 4 women members of the house. Representatives Hayward, Rosa McKay, of Gila County, Pauline O'Neill, of Maricopa County (widow of "Bucky" O'Neill and former resident of Prescott, she had worked with Frances Munds to give Arizona women the right to vote), and Mrs. J. H. Westover, of Yuma County."

"Tonight the house marked time waiting for the senate, which had recessed much of the afternoon, to act."

(Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; February 18, 1920; page 3.)

The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution granted women the right to vote, a right known as women's suffrage. Several attempts to pass a women's suffrage amendment had failed. Adding an amendment to the United States Constitution requires passage by two-thirds of each chamber of Congress, then ratification by three-fourths of the states, which in 1919 was 36 of 48 states.

On May 21, 1919, the United States House of Representatives passed the language that would become the 19th Amendment. It had passed it before in early 1918, but the Senate had not followed suit. The Senate passed the amendment on June 4, 1919, and state ratification began. The first states to ratify the amendment were Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, on June 10, 1919. Half of the required states had ratified when California ratified it on November 1, 1919. Arizona ratified the 19th Amendment on February 12, 1920. Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920, making women's suffrage legal in all states.

In Prescott, Pauline O'Neill was elected president of the Arizona Territorial Women's Suffrage Association during 1898 and her friend, Frances (Willard) Munds was elected secretary. They worked together on many projects. After Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912, the State of Arizona Women Suffrage Organization elected Frances Munds to be their chairman. They organized a petition drive and collected 3,342 signatures to qualify for a ballot initiative on July 5, 1912.

This amendment modified Article 7, Section 2 and Section 15 of the Constitution of Arizona to provide suffrage and the right to hold public office for women. The vote by men to approve questions 300 and 301 passed 13,442 votes to 6,202. In 1912, eight other states (Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Washington, California, Oregon, and Kansas) had given women the right to vote before the passage of the suffrage referendum in Arizona on November 5, 1912.


"Reserving our best felicitations to the last for the most pleasing feature of the election, the 'Journal-Miner' extends its heartiest and most cordial greetings to the new citizens of Arizona --- the women!"

"By a vote of nearly 3 to 1, the sacred right of suffrage has been conferred upon the gentler sex, and in no act of legislation has Arizona so distinguished herself as progressive commonwealth, than in giving the weaker sex political equality --- in giving her the right and the power to protect herself and her home, and thus indirectly contributing to the general elevation of the human race."

"Her presence hereafter in politics will raise the standard of citizenship: her force at the ballot box will prevent and deter unworthy men of low ideals and shady records from seeking office. It has only been the politicians of the dominant party in Arizona who have obstructed her efforts to obtain political equality. The great mass of the people were for her, as was demonstrated on Tuesday, when they gave expression to their views in an emphatic and unmistakable manner. It is a high tribute to the gallantry and intelligence of the manhood of Arizona that they gave to the Woman's Suffrage amendment such an overwhelming majority. We are only ashamed of the fact that it was not unanimous."

"Out of the aftermath of the election, the 'Journal-Miner' obtains keen gratification in the fact that it was the first daily paper in Arizona to advocate woman's suffrage. ... A band of noble women have been working for years to this end. They were undaunted, and their persistency counted, for the press came to their aid and assisted in moulding public sentiment."

(Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; November 13, 1912; page 4.)


"I wish to thank Arizona men for bestowing upon Arizona women the full right of citizenship. While we made a faithful and strenuous campaign and were never doubtful for one instant that the suffrage amendment would carry, the majority given us exceeded our most sanguine expectations."

"A Democratic politician of Phoenix offered to bet a substantial sum that Yavapai County would give a 300 majority against suffrage. We calmly assured him that we never made bets of any kind, but that old Yavapai would give us a safe majority. Yet it was one of the several surprises we had that this county gave us such a large majority."

"We do feel deeply grateful the generous and progressive men of Arizona, and we will assure them that 'Votes for Women' does not mean 'A wild scramble for office.' I shall use my best influence to have the women thoroughly acquaint themselves first with the duties of citizenship so that we may use our ballots for the good of all rather than for personal advancement. I don't predict that the women will bring about 'The Millennium.' We are only human and will make mistakes, of course; but I can safely assert that our women will make good so far as it lies in their power, in all that pertains to the up-building of Arizona's welfare and future prosperity." "Frances Willard Munds."

(Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; November 13, 1912; page 5.)

"Since the women of Arizona have been voted the right to cast their ballots in this state there is considerable interest taken in the matter as to when they can vote. ... 'The Star' pointed out a few days ago that women could not vote until after May 1, 1914, because they can not register before that time --- unless the extra session of the legislature changes the law in that regard. The law now provides that the registration books shall close after October 15, 1912, and stay closed until May 1, 1914. No person except those legally registered can vote. This bars women." (Weekly Journal-Miner; November 20, 1912; page 6.)


"The ungallant supporters of the amendment to the senate bill, providing for the registration of women voters requiring them to divulge their exact ages, are still working persistently. But we feel sure that the amendment cannot prevail There are more gallant than ungallant men in this world and we believe that the ratio is maintained in the Arizona legislature."

(Arizona Republican; Phoenix; March 11, 1913; page 4.)


"Yesterday, March 14, Governor Hunt signed and approved bills providing for the registration of voters to begin today, March 15. The new law does not compel women to give their age when registering. They simply have to make an oath that they are 21 years of age or over."

(The Jerome News and Copper Belt; March 15, 1913; page 3.)


"The Emergency Registration bill which has been erroneously referred to by newspapers and members of the legislature as the 'Women's Registration Bill,' has passed the legislature and is a law. Because of the fact that women were the most interested in the matter it was mentioned as affecting only them but it does more than that. It affects every voter in the state or person who can become a qualified voter by registering."

"The bill provides that the registration books shall be opened in the office of every county registrar from March 15, the date the bill became law, until the first day of May, 1913, and biennially thereafter between the first day of May and the fifteenth day of October.

"This means that the books in every county are open now and that men as well as women can register. Under the old law neither men or women could register until the spring before the next state election."

(The Parker Post; March 22, 1913; page 2.)


"So far as returns received by Recorder Colwell from all precincts in the county would indicate, woman suffrage has not met with the popularity anticipated. Less than twenty per cent of the qualified women have registered."

"Some precincts have failed to record a single woman voter, and this is particularly true of the main line of the Santa Fe railroad in this county, not an entry being made at Ash Fork, Seligman or other places in that country."

"Prescott leads with a total of about 300, Jerome follows with 191, while Humboldt has 47, a larger proportion than any other precinct, population considered. Kirkland, Skull, and Hillside have only 1 each, while other precincts failed to show even that number. Congress Junction reports only 3, Walker 2, Groom Creek 2, while Camp Verde as yet has failed to make any return whatever, although there are over 70 qualified women voters in that community. Cottonwood on the Verde is strong with 43, exceeding the male vote by at least 18, while Oak Creek has 23, and also outranks the male. It is not expected that the total women vote as registered in Yavapai County will exceed 650."

(Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; May 7, 1913; page 3.)

After the 1914 election, Frances Lillian (Willard) Munds took office as a senator in the second Arizona Legislature on January 11, 1915. She was the first woman senator in Arizona and the second in the United States. By the time Arizona ratified the 19th Amendment, Frances and John Munds had returned to live in the family home of her mother at Cottonwood.

Pauline Marie (Schindler) O'Neill was elected for 2 terms in House of Representatives, serving from 1915 to 1920.

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