You are here

A story about a woman who voted in Bluffton in 1915

By Fred Steiner

The 19th amendment guaranteed all American women the right to vote on Aug. 1920.

Despite that date, a brief notation in my grandmother’s diary reads: “I went to vote and Margaret and Florence went with me. Margaret is one year old, Nov. 2, 1915.”

The note with the 1915 date confused me. I knew that women did not receive their constitutional right to vote until the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified.

So, how could she vote in 1915?


Thanks to a response from the Ohio State Historical Society, I learned that Ohio was a partial suffrage state, because of the School Suffrage Act passed into law in 1894. The act allowed women to vote in local school board elections.

So, in reference to the 1915 diary note, my Grandmother Hahn voted in a school board election, not a presidential one.

I've shared the 1915 diary reference with my wife, two daughters, sister and nieces. This excited them even more than it did me.

My sister followed up my message with this note:

One story (our) mother told was that Grandma Hahn went campaigning door to door in Bluffton, soliciting votes for complete women's suffrage.

She had doors slammed in her face. Then, she began to take her young daughter, Margaret (my mother), with her, because Margaret was about 5 years old and not yet in school.

Click HERE for photos and the rest of the story.