Document 13: "Elections -- Woman Suffrage ," Session Laws of Colorado, 9th Session, 1893, (Denver: Smith-Books Printing Co., 1893), chapter 83, pp. 256-58.
On January 16, 1893, Representative J.T. Heath, a Populist from Montrose and Delta counties, introduced the woman suffrage bill that eventually became law later that year. As provided for by Article 7, Section 2 of the state constitution, House Bill 118, drawn up by Denver attorney and reformer Jared Warner Mills, met with the approval of legislators by April 7 and then went before the Colorado electorate on November 7. When the bill passed both the Colorado House of Representatives and the Senate, it was along party lines, with strong support from Populists (34 For, 4 Against), strong opposition from the few Democrats (1 For, 8 Against), and the majority party, the Republicans, divided (19 For, 25 Against).
The text of the bill explained the process by which Colorado would get a woman suffrage law.
CHAPTER 83. ________
ELECTIONS -- WOMAN SUFFRAGE. ________
(H.B. 118, by Mr. Heath.)
"TO SUBMIT TO THE QUALIFIED ELECTORS OF THE STATE THE QUESTION OF EXTENDING" THE RIGHT OF SUFFRAGE TO WOMEN OF LAWFUL AGE, AND OTHERWISE QUALIFIED, ACCORDING TO THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE SEVEN, SEC. 2, OF THE CONSTITUTION OF COLORADO.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:
SECTION 1. That every female person shall be entitled to vote at all elections, in the same manner and all respects as male persons are, or shall be entitled to vote by the constitution and the laws of this state, and the same qualifications as to age, citizenship, and time of residence in the state, county, city, ward and precinct and all other qualifications required by law to entitle male persons to vote shall be required to entitle female persons to vote.
Submitted to vote at general election.
SEC 2. Section one of this act shall be submitted to the qualified voters of this state for approval or rejection at the next general election, and shall not be in effect as a law unless the same shall be approved by majority of the qualified electors voting thereon at said election.
Secretary of state give notice.
SEC 3. It shall be the duty of the secretary of state to issue his proclamation or notice to the electors of said general election and to give notice of submission of said section one (1) to the qualified electors of the state for their approval or rejection, and to print or direct to be printed upon the official ballots, used in each county of the state at said election, or separate line the words:
Form of ballot.
“Equal Suffrage Approved” and the words
“Equal Suffrage not approved”
Mark of approval. and those voting at the said election, who approve said section one of this act shall place in ink a cross or “X” upon said ballots opposite to or in the margin of the words: Disapproval.
Publication of notice.
“Equal suffrage Approved” and those voting at the election who do not approve the same shall place in ink a cross or an “X” upon said ballots opposite to or in the margin of the words: “Equal suffrage not approved” and the Secretary of State shall cause said proclamation or notice herein before referred to to be published in at least one newspaper of general circulation in each county (if such there be) for three (3) months previous to the next general election, and said proclamation, by the secretary of state, and the voting on the said question aforesaid, by the qualified electors of the state, shall be deemed and considered by all the courts of this state as a submission of said section one of the act to the qualified electors for approval or rejection within the meaning of the state constitution. Votes counted for approval of section one.
For rejection of section one.
SEC. 4. A cross or an “X” found opposite to or in the margin of the words: “Equal suffrage approved,” upon any ballot legally polled at said election, shall be counted, returned, and canvassed, as a vote, for the approval of section one of this act; and a cross or an “X” found opposite to or in the margin of the words: “Equal suffrage not approved” upon any ballot, legally polled at said election, shall be counted, returned and canvassed as a vote for the rejection of section one of this act.
Canvass of votes.
Certified to secretary of state.
Governor make proclamation.
SEC. 5: The votes which shall have been polled upon such submission of said section for approval or rejection as aforesaid, shall be counted, returned, canvassed and certified by the same officers and as nearly as may be, in the same manner and time in all respects as the votes for members of the general assembly, would be required to be canvassed and certified by law, were the members being voted for at said election, and shall be in the same manner certified to the secretary of state, and if said section one be approved by a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon at said election in the manner aforesaid, it shall be the duty of the governor, after canvass by the state canvassing board to make proclamation of the fact of such approval under the great seal of the state, and cause the same to be recorded in the record of the department of state and published in some newspaper printed in the state capital, immediately after said votes shall have been canvassed by the board of state canvassers.
SEC. 6: Section on of this act shall be of effect and in full force as a law of this state, as soon as such proclamation by the governor shall be made, and not before, or otherwise.
Approved. April 7. 1893
back to top