Utah women continued to be keenly interested in national suffrage efforts and joined national organizations in seeking a federal suffrage amendment. Nationally, suffrage leaders seeking a constitutional amendment and leaders focused on enacting state laws for woman suffrage joined forces to create the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.
In 1900, Carrie Chapman Catt became president. Soon after, Catt visited Utah and organized the Utah State Suffrage Council (or Utah Council of Women) as Utah’s official division of the NAWSA. Emily S. Richards, who worked tirelessly for the inclusion of suffrage rights in the Utah constitution and had previously founded the Utah Woman Suffrage Association, became president of this new organization. The Utah State Suffrage Council provided financial support for the goals of the NAWSA, with more than 1,000 dues-paying members.
For decades, women of the Church of Jesus Christ attended national suffrage conventions. They were active fundraisers for NAWSA and lobbied for the federal suffrage amendment. Suffrage activists in Utah also became an example to other states of the positive legislative impact of women’s voting rights.
In 1919, Congress passed the 19th Amendment, more than 50 years after a woman suffrage amendment was first introduced in the Senate. The NAWSA mobilized its members to pressure state governments to ratify the amendment. Utah ratified the amendment on September 20, 1919, becoming the 17th state of the 36 states required. On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was officially adopted declaring that, “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged . . . on account of sex.”