State leaders, community honor 150th anniversary of first woman voter

State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jillian Balow, speaks at the ceremony honoring Louisa Swain.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jillian Balow, speaks at the ceremony honoring Louisa Swain.(Will Thomas)
Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 6:50 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Not only is Wyoming known as the “Cowboy State,” its also the “Equality State.” Sunday marks the 150th anniversary of Louisa Swain becoming the first woman to drop her vote in the ballot box in Laramie. Friday morning, state leaders, admirers and the community came to a ceremony to celebrate Swain.

“It was much more than a state decision, it started a movement that snowballed into a bigger movement, and a bigger movement, and pretty soon became one of the amendments to the constitution,” said Wyoming State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jillian Balow.

Balow said, as an elected official on the road for two summers, she had to find inspiration from somewhere. Historical women like Swain, was that inspiration.

The trip to Cheyenne is part of the “First Woman Voter Virtual Tour,” which started in Washington, D.C. and will finish in Laramie Sunday. The Wyoming Office of Tourism partnered with the Louisa Swain Foundation and the American Trucking Association to bring the tour to Cheyenne. The all female crew that drove the truck, were honored to be in the state where Swain broke barriers.

“We’re getting to see where this pioneer woman began her journey, and how important, and precious it is for this community, and this state, and so to be a part of it, it just solidifies what we have done within our careers,” said American Trucking Association’s, Dee Sova.

For the Cheyenne League of Women Voters, they enjoy being a part of these ceremonies, and being able to share this history with younger generations is special.

“We’d never realized how much we meant, and to see young girls come up to us, that’s when we get a little teary eyed,” said Cheyenne League of Women Voters member, Rosalind Schliske.

The tour ends in Laramie this weekend and for more information you can visit the tour’s website.

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