After The Vote

Suffragists did not stop working after their victory in 1917. They mobilized, going to each neighborhood in Elmira in early April 1918 to get women to register for the vote. Alice T. Knapp told a reporter from the Star-Gazette of their efforts: “The work of the women, who without experience or careful organization watched and worked around the polls during the two registration days, was remarkable. Without lunches and suppers in a majority of cases, the women worked from 7:45 o’clock in the morning until 10:30 o’clock at night. There was not a single case of desertion from duty.” By the end of the registration days, an estimated 11,849 women in Elmira had registered to vote.

 Soon after suffrage was granted, local women also began running for political office. Marie Carr Fraser was elected to the Chemung County Board of Supervisors in 1919, the first woman to hold that post. Reba Thomas Pickering lost the election for school commissionership of district No. 2. in 1920, in part due to rumors that she was a Socialist. In 1919, May Stewart ran for Alderman in Elmira’s first ward, but lost to Fred West.


Chemung County Board of Supervisors, including Marie Carr Fraser, 1920