This fall, when voters head to the polls—or mail in their ballots—it will mark 100 years since women were granted the right to cast their vote for the United States president. And even though the 19th Amendment was ratified into the Constitution on Aug. 18, 1920, literacy tests, long residency requirements and poll taxes continued to marginalize female representation at the polls, not to mention suppression of votes from immigrants, people of color and low-income areas.
In fact, women wouldn’t vote in equal numbers to men until the 1980s. And still, in light of all that, America’s voter turnout hovers around 55 to 60 percent, which is markedly below comparable democracies. In Colorado, women have been voting since 1893. It became the first state in the union to grant women the right to vote by popular vote. (Wyoming, still a territory at the time, allowed women to vote, but it was enacted by a legislative decision rather than referendum.) And the man who made it a priority was Davis Hanson Waite, the state governor who called Aspen home and ran on a Populist platform pushing for women’s suffrage.