25″ x 40″
Anna, my grandmother, was born to Norwegian immigrants in the South Dakota Territory in 1888. South Dakota was admitted to the Union the next year. Being a citizen with a vote was a right granted to her father and brothers, but it wasn’t available to her mother and the three girls. Women got the right to vote on August 18, 1920, when the 19th amendment was ratified. They were able to vote for President that same year. My grandmother spent some time as a door-to-door saleswoman for Singer sewing machines and was engaged to be married, and her itinerant status prevented her from voting in that first election. She married Bill Miller, a British man, on November 14, 1920. Unbeknownst to her, the Expatriation Act of 1907 stated that if someone married a citizen of another country, their citizenship morphed into the other nationality. So, she lost her citizenship, and with it, her right to vote. Three days after the Ohio birth of my father, William Bruce Miller, in 1921, the whole family was naturalized. Five months after that, they moved to Washington, DC, whose citizens did not have the right to vote for president until the DC voting rights amendment was ratified in 1961. The first election in which DC citizens could vote was 1964, but by then, my grandmother had relocated to Maryland. However, she could not vote there because she moved after the voter registration deadline for the 1964 election had passed. There must have been another Maryland move into a different voting district as she wasn’t eligible in 1968 either. So, at the age of 19, I voted for the first time in the election of 1972, as did my grandmother, Anna Bruce Miller, age 84. My grandmother was very proud of the only vote she ever cast.