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This Election Day Marks 100 Years Of Women Voting In New York

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BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -

Handing in your ballot is something we do every Election Day, but 100 years ago half the population wouldn't have that right.

"It's amazing to me that women wouldn't be allowed to vote," says Susie Whalen, a Binghamton resident who just turned in her ballot, "I couldn't imagine tolerating that."

After a long fight, New York State suffragists won the right in 1917 and the first vote was cast in Lisle just a few months later. The commemorative suffrage stickers handed out at polling locations today are a reminder to voters of the decades long struggle for thousands of activists.

"It reminds me of the persistence of these women who worked for decades to get to this point," says Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo.

Lupardo has been heading the Broome-Tioga Suffrage Committee, honoring the women who paved the way. Tuesday, she did that with her ballot.

"When women vote, I think people are elected who have the needs and the interests of the broader population in mind," says Lupardo.

Next time you're filling out that ballot, Lupardo wants women to take a second to think about who made that happen:

  • Catherine Bartoo and Margaret Topliff, who called local women to action as head of the Broome County Women's Suffrage Party.
  • Owego native Elizabeth Chatfield, who worked side by side with Susan B Anthony as her personal Secretary.
  • Florence Chauncey, who cast the first women's vote in New York State to keep Lisle a dry town.

And many more who spent hours, days, and years campaigning and fighting for a simple right. A right not taken for granted by women voters in Broome County this election season.

"It's a privilege, that's all I have to say about that," says Whalen.

The Suffrage Commission will continue their work commemorating the suffrage anniversary for the next three years, since it wouldn't be until 1920 that women across the country gained that right.