Illinois Women Win the Vote

The first woman to vote in Illlinois was considered so radical she shocked a man backwards into a barrel. A second man witnessing the event had a fit, and a third was struck speechless. The year was 1891.

While Illinois law limited voting rights to men, a loophole in Lombard's village charter allowed all citizens to vote. Miss Ellen Martin, a lawyer and resident of Lombard, realized the possibilites. On Election Day, she led a group of 14 prominent women to the polling place and demanded to vote. While women's votes were counted for that election, Lombard city officials quickly changed laws to match the state law.

The struggle for women's right to vote in Illinois would continue for the next 20 years.