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Votes For Women!

The Fight For Women's Suffrage in New Jersey Newspapers In Chronicling America

New Jersey Laws

1776  New Jersey's first constitution written in 1776 allowed anyone who was of an inhabitant of the colony and was of “full-age” and worth fifty pounds, and had lived in their county for one year was entitled to vote. This included blacks and certain women.
1777 An Act for regulating the election of the members of the Legislative-Council and Assembly, Sheriffs and Coroners of the State of New Jersey. Refers to the electorate as "he".
1783 An Act for regulating the election of members of the Legislative-Council and Assembly, Sheriffs and Coroners, of the State of New Jersey, and of Delegates to Represent the State State in the Congress of the United States. Refers to the electorate as "he".
1790  An Act to regulate the election of members of the Legislative Council and General Assembly, Sheriffs and Coroners, in the Counties of Bergen, Monmouth, Burlington, Gloucester, Salem, Hunterdon and Sussex  refers to the electorate as both he and she
1797 An act to regulate the election of members of the legislative council and general assembly, sheriffs and coroners, in this State re-affirms the right of women to vote

Eumenes: Being a Collection of Papers, Written for the Purpose of Exhibiting Some of the Errors and Omissions of the Constitution of New Jersey (Trenton: G. Craft, 1799). William Griffith, a prominent New Jersey lawyer argues for taking the franchise away from women.

1800 Extract from a Letter to the editor from a member of the legislature in support of women's suffrage "Our Constitution gives this right to maids or widows black or white"
1807 A supplement to an act...This act limited voting to free, white, male citizens
1844 The second New Jersey Constitution limits voting to free, white, male citizens

AN ACT in respect to insurance for lives for the benefit of married women.


AN ACT for the better securing the property of married women.

Report from the Special Committee addressing the petition of Harriet M. Lafetra, of Monmouth County, requesting equality with men


Report from the Special Committee regarding striking the words "white male" from the New Jersey constitution.


Report from the Judiciary Committee regarding the petition of Lucy Stone and Antionette Blackwell

1869 New Jersey petition to amend the 1844 constitution to allow women to vote

An Act giving the right of suffrage to all persons, whether male or female, in any school meeting in any school district of the state allowed women to vote for school trustees

1894 The New Jersey Supreme Court decides in Allison v. Blake  that legislators may not extend suffrage via legislation in a manner contrary to the New Jersey Constitution

The New Jersey Supreme Court decides in Kimball v. Hendee to uphold the decision in Allison v. Blake declaring that the 1887 law allowing women to vote for school trustees was unconstitutional


The New Jersey Supreme Court decides in Landis v. Ashworth that women have the constitutional right to vote in school elections, except for the election of trustees. This decision allowed women to vote on school appropriations.

1912 In Carpenter v. Cornish Mary Philbrook (New Jersey's first female lawyer) argues that women should be given the right to vote as the 1807 law was unconstitutional.
1913 Proposed amendments to the Constitution of 1844 had to pass in the Assembly and Senate for two consecutive years. The law required that after the first year of passage the proposed amendment had to be published in a newspaper in each county for three months prior to the next general legislative election, giving voters a chance to elect who they wanted to vote on the measure. Inexplicably, the passed bills were not sent to the Secretary of State so that he could notify the newspapers, but were instead sent to the State Library to be filed with the dead bills. This delayed the vote on the proposed amendment and the suffragists had to begin the two year cycle again in 1914.
1915 Suffrage amendment fails. New Jersey law requires that they wait five years before the issue can be put before the voters again as a state constitutional amendment.
1920 New Jersey is the 29th state to ratify the suffrage amendment


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