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Women voting: 100 years ago, a lone CT lawmaker voted nay

May 23, 2019

A century ago, a single Connecticut congressman voted against women’s suffrage.

It’s the 100th anniversary this week of the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote in favor of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Of the five Connecticut representatives to the House only one was a Democrat, but it was a Republican who broke with his party to vote against women’s suffrage.

John Tilson, who would later become the House Majority Leader, voted against the 19th amendment, going against the vast majority of his Republican colleagues. The final vote tally, taken on May 21, 1919, was 304 to 89, in favor of suffrage.

Republicans were in the majority in 1919, and the most of them voted in favor of suffrage. Of 304 House members in favor, 200 were Republicans. Only 19 Republican representatives voted against women’s right to vote.

Tilson was one of them. His seat, Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District, is now held by Rosa DeLauro, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Connecticut’s sole Democratic congressman at the time, Augustine Lonergan, also broke with his party. He was one of only 102 minority Democrats to vote in favor of suffrage.

His seat is now held by John Larson.

To be fair to Tilson, it’s worth noting that Republican Glynn James — representing Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District, now held by Jahana Hayes — was one of 30 House members who did not vote.

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