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31 1918 Women Register and Vote for First Time in Texas For years the opponents of woman suffrage claimed that women did not really want to vote. During the seventeen-day registration period following the passage of the primary suffrage bill, 386,000 women signed up to vote in the July 27 Democratic primaries. In some counties, more women than men were registered. Black women registered and voted in some Texas counties; in other counties, they were excluded from the polls by party primary rules which served to deny the franchise to black men as well. The suffragists not only registered voters, they also campaigned for their friends Governor William Hobby and Annie Webb Blanton, the candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Both Hobby and Blanton were elected by immense majorities. DOCUMENT* TEXAS'S WOMEN VOTERS In one town in Texas, Amarillo, there will be more women than men voting at the Democratic primaries on July 27. A total of 2,112 women as against 2,072 men registered. In Palestine also more women than men registered. It will be remembered that one reason why Texas women urgently appealed for the vote now during the war is that so many Texas men have gone to the front, and while the state does not permit its soldiers to vote, even when in camp in Texas, it does permit aliens not fully naturalized to vote. Loyal Texas women declare that wives and mothers of men fighting for their country would make a better electorate than men who had not been in this country long enough to have taken out their naturalization papers. Three hundred and sixty thousand Texas women in all registered at the primaries, successfully negotiating six confusing rulings from the attorney general's office. *From: 'Texas Women Voters/' The Woman Citizen, 20 July 1918, p. 156. 172 DOCUMENTS 173 DOCUMENT* TO THE WOMEN OF TEXAS War is calling to arms our best young men. They lose their right to vote when they put on the uniform. Upon the mothers, wives, sisters and sweethearts devolves the duty of electing men to fill the offices of this State. It is a sacred and important duty. I know the women of Texas will prove worthy of their trust. You must choose a Governor. What are you doing for the Governor who gave you the privilege of voting, who since his entrance into politics in 1914 has been in favor of your enfranchisement? A man, who, since his occupancy of the Governor's chair, has proven that his chief thought is the welfare of the State and the wishes of the people of Texas? Look over the legislation submitted and approved by him. A dry Texas. Our boys in camp protected from liquor and vice. The primary suffrage, the literacy law and the alien law, both for the protection and purity of the ballot. The delinquency law protecting juveniles; the vice law requiring registration of certain diseases for the protection of the homes and the youths of the land; educational measures for the benefit of the schools, and that law for which every woman has worked and prayed, the age of consent law, raising the age to 18 years. There are many other measures passed at the instance of Governor Hobby that deserve our support and approval, but these especially are the ones in which women are deeply interested. It is not enough that we vote for Governor Hobby for re-election. We should use our best efforts to see that every woman qualifies and votes for him. Won't you start a Hobby Club in your community if there is not already one started? If there is one, won't you join it and do your part towards the re-election of the man who has been the friend of the women and children of this State? DO IT NOW. If we can assist you call on us. Yours very sincerely, HORTENSE WARD Houston, Texas President Houston Equal Suffrage Association May 15, 1918 Vice-President Women Lawyer's Association *From: Hortense Ward, 'To the Women of Texas/' 15 May 1918, Minnie Fisher Cunningham Collection, Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library. 174 CITIZENS AT LAST Dr. Annie Webb Blanton of Denton and Austin, elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1918, was the first Texas woman to win a state office. She founded Delta Kappa Gamma, a national honorary teachers' organization , and taught at the University of Texas from 1923 to 1945...


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