History of voting in Chemung County

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – 2020 is the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States. While women earned the right to vote in 1920, women in New York had already been voting since 1918.

“The first woman to get elected in Chemung county did so in 1919. She was Marie Carr Fraser. She was a singer and music teacher. She became one of the Chemung County supervisors,” said Rachel Dworkin, archivist at the Chemung County Historical Society.

“The first woman to register to vote was Mini Clark and she registered as a socialist,” said Dworkin.

“The first African-American person to be elected to any position in Chemung County was Bessie Berry who was elected to the school board in 1966.”

“In 1913 there was a large rally with approximately 1,000 people in attendance that was a suffragist rally. There was a resolution to change the New York state constitution in 1915 and another one in 1917. There was active involvement in with suffragists working here in the county in both years and interestingly enough there were also anti-suffragists women who working in the county in 1917.”

The Chemung County Historical Museum has an exhibit coming up in October based on voting. It will be in -person at the museum. They will have a digital component.

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