1850-1859, Washington Territory

Voting in Washington Territory

The first election returns for the Washington Territory were in 1853.

In 1854, the Washington Territorial Assembly passed its first law. The legislation established election procedures, created precinct boundaries, and defined who could vote. At the time, suffrage was limited to “white male inhabitants at least twenty-one years of age.”

Governor Stevens then issued a proclamation calling for elections in February of 1855. Because the President of the United States appointed the chief officers of the Territory, this election only determined members of the Territorial Assembly and government officials. (The Territorial Assembly included the Territorial Council and House of Representatives.)

1889, Washington State

Washington Becomes a State

Congress authorized the organization of Washington as a state on Washington’s birthday, February 22, 1889. The “Enabling Act,” allowed the people of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Washington to form constitutions and state governments.

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