Suffrage & Polygamy

The history of women’s voting rights in Utah is closely linked with the practice of polygamy. National suffrage activists and anti-polygamists hoped that if given the opportunity, women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would vote to outlaw polygamy. Locally, women demanded the right to vote. On February 12, 1870, the acting territorial governor signed the An Act Conferring Upon Women the Elective Franchise (Woman Suffrage Bill), recognizing women’s voting rights in local elections. Seraph Young became the first woman to cast a ballot in a Salt Lake City election on February 14, 1870. The Woman’s Exponent, first published in 1872, championed women’s involvement in local and national issues, including the expansion of voting rights in the United States.