Just the Facts:  Expanded and Contracted Voting Rights in NJ

Contributed by Olga Vanucci.

  • Year in which New Jersey gave the right to vote to women and free Blacks:  1776
  • Number of other states that did the same at the time:  Zero
  • Minimum value of property owned that allowed someone to vote:  50 pounds
  • Typical value of property owned by married women:  Zero
  • Number of women who were found to have voted based on poll records:  At least 163
  • Number of free Black men who voted based on poll records:  At least 4, including 2 from the Hopewell Valley
  • Number of free Black women who voted as identified in poll records:  None
  • Year in which New Jersey revoked the right to vote to all but white male taxpayers, following, according to the New York Times, “charges of rampant fraud and corruption, as newspapers filled with tales of elections thrown into chaos by incompetent and easily manipulated ‘petticoat electors,’ to say nothing of men who put on dresses to vote five, six, seven times:”  1807  [It’s unclear why men couldn’t vote five, six, seven times wearing trousers.]


Sources:  When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story, 1776 – 1807 – Museum of the American Revolution (amrevmuseum.org) and

On the Trail of America’s First Women to Vote – The New York Times (nytimes.com) and

Uncovering a Cemetery’s Lost Black History, Stone by Stone – The New York Times (nytimes.com) – article about Elaine Buck and Beverly Mills, from Hopewell, who spoke to ILNH about their research

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