“On November 2 you will be called upon to decide the most momentous questions that have ever confronted our Country.”
So stated a column in The New Era, Riverton’s hometown newspaper, one hundred years ago.
The 1920 Presidential Election was the first election held after the end of World War I and the first election after the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, making that the first in which women had the right to vote in all 48 states.
In Riverton, 781 voters were registered in District 1 and 581 in District 2; more than half were women. One early estimate calculated that ballots would have to be cast faster than one per minute in order to count them all and urged folks to vote early.
The newspaper printed instructions for filling in a ballot, suggesting that men get in line right as the polls open and directed “Ladies, leave your housework and vote first.”
Indeed, the women of the Porch Club were so determined to exercise that right for which they had so long fought that they offered an instructional demonstration for all women wishing to navigate the complex ballot composed of seven political parties and three questions.
The polls opened from 6 am to 7 pm.
Voter turnout in Riverton was almost 84% of the total registration and in a column titled “Hats off to the ladies,” The New Era gave a good deal of the credit to women’s committees for organizing carpools that took women to the pools.
The election returns as published in The New Era:
It may be a tired cliche to claim that this year’s election is the most important in our lifetime, but the thing about cliches is that they are pretty much true.