Jane woke up before sunrise on the morning of November 2nd, 1920. The night had gone by slowly, with much of the time spent awake thinking about the years before and what was to come of the day ahead. She had waited for this day her entire adult life. Today was the first presidential election in which women could vote, and she was determined to exercise her newfound right.
Jane was a simple woman, born and raised on a farm in the heart of Missouri. After much work on the farm in childhood and some education, she married and, with her husband, raised eight children. Many good times and bad had passed. But today was different. Today, she felt part of something big, something historic.
After attempting to eat a small breakfast, Jane nervously made her way to the polling station in a small schoolhouse on the edge of town. She wasn’t sure what to expect. As the schoolhouse came into view, she saw a long line of people stretching out the door.
She took her place at the back of the line and waited patiently. As she stood there, she couldn’t help but overhear the conversations of those around her. Some were excited, like her, about the prospect of voting for the first time. Others were skeptical, wondering what difference one vote could make.
Jane didn’t let their skepticism bother her. She knew every vote counted and was determined to make hers count too.
After what seemed like an eternity, Jane finally reached the front of the line. The poll worker greeted her warmly and asked for her name and address. Jane handed her registration card, and the poll worker checked her name off the list.
“You’re all set,” the poll worker said with a smile. “You can head over to the booth on your right to cast your ballot.”
Jane thanked the poll worker and made her way to the booth. Inside, she found a small table with a stack of ballots and a pen. She picked up a ballot and stared at it for a moment. It was a simple piece of paper but it held so much power.
She carefully filled out her ballot, marking her choices clearly. When she was finished, Jane folded the ballot and placed it in the box on the table.
As she did, she felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. She had done something that she, and all the women before her could only dream of.
As she left the polling station, Jane felt much gratitude for the suffragettes who had fought hard for her right to vote. She thought of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, two of the most prominent suffragettes who had paved the way for her and women like her.
Jane knew that there was still work to be done. Women still faced discrimination and inequality in many areas of life. But for today, at least, she felt like progress had been made. And that was something worth celebrating.
As she made her way home, Jane thought of her mother, a staunch feminist who had died before she could see this day. She knew that her mother would have been proud of her.
Jane arrived home to her small farm, and as she looked out at the fields, she felt a sense of hope for the future. She knew that change wouldn’t happen overnight, but she was grateful to be part of a country that was always striving to improve.
And with that, Jane went to bed, exhausted but content. She had done something today that would forever change the course of her life and women’s lives throughout the country. And that was something worth remembering.
“Voting for the First Time” is a work of historical fiction. While based on real events, the story, characters, and incidents are fictitious.
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