The state of Utah will be celebrating its historic commitment to women’s suffrage as well as the centennial of the 19th Amendment by distributing unique “I Voted” stickers during 2020 primary and general elections. Because 2020 marks 150 years since Utah’s equal suffrage law as well as 100 years since Congress ratified the 19th Amendment, Utah’s Office of Elections has partnered with the Utah-based nonprofit Better Days 2020 to produce and distribute these creative stickers.
Choosing designs from an assortment of submissions made by local artists, Better Days 2020 and the Office of Elections plan to distribute four different types of “I Voted” stickers that include phrases and images referencing women’s suffrage, as well as significant dates related to women’s suffrage. Neylan McBaine, who heads Better Days 2020, expressed confidence that issuing such symbolic stickers will “remind us of the sacrifice (our foremothers) made so women could have a voice in the way we are governed.”
Before the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment by the United States Congress, Utah was one of a few states leading the nation in efforts to grant women the right to vote. In 1870, the state granted its female residents the right to vote through the passage of the Woman Suffrage Bill. Within days of this bill passing the state’s legislature and being signed by the governor of Utah, women in Utah became the first to cast votes.
All women in Utah were disenfranchised from 1871 until 1887 after the efforts of anti-polygamist lobbyists succeeded. However, with the growing presence of statewide organizing efforts and Utah being granted statehood, women were re-enfranchised. In 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, extending women’s suffrage nationally. In spite of this historic amendment, many women remained disenfranchised because of their race and citizenship.
Although the coronavirus pandemic has compromised states’ abilities to hold in-person elections this summer and fall, Utah’s Office of Elections plans to offer its unique “I Voted Stickers” to those who vote by mail or opt to vote at drive-through locations in the state’s June primary election and in the general election in November.
Sources: Utah Women’s History; ABC4 6/10/20; Better Days 2020; The Salt Lake Tribune 6/10/20