Lillian Herrick Olzendam to William H. Dyer

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Mr. W. H. Dyer


My dear Mr. Dyer:

Your letter of the fourth was duly received
and I would have answered it before this had I not expected
to call upon you when I was in Middlebury recently-the
scarcity of trains was the reason that I did not do so.
There seems to be some misunderstanding in the minds of
some of the legislators, just as you express in your letter—
from what you say I am forced to think that you consider the
Constitution of Vermont supercedes that of the United States
of America. If such is the case, may I ask you how you
explain the fact that Prohibition which was enacted recently
in the United States by an amendment to the Federal Constitution,
is already operative in Vermont? The Federal Suffrage
Amendment will operate exactly in the same way in every state
in the Union as soon as it is ratified by 36 states. The
enclosed copy of the Federal Suffrage Amendment may help in
clarifying the situation.

As I tried to explain in my previous letter to you which
was sent also to all our friends in the legislature(which
includes a large majority in both houses), we are getting
these signatures in order that when Senator Howland and his
legislative committee call upon the Governor, there may present
to him the names of a majority in both houses who petition
him to call a special session to ratify the suffrage amendment.

This has ceased to be merely a state affair, but as the en¬
closed list of ratifications show you, Vermont has the opportu¬
nity of being among the 36 necessary states-in fact she has
the chance of taking that important position —the 36th State.
If we do not have a special session, Vermont may be the means
of denying the privilege of voting for next President to 18
states—that is, the women of those states. Perhaps you do
not realize that 15,000,000 women will vote for next President
whether ratification is complete or not. We are anxious
to remove the injustice done to the rest of the women, which can
be done only by ratification of the Amendment.

You can readily see by the text of the amendment that as soon
as it is ratified women will have the same voting privileges as
men in every state in the Union. Hoping to receive your signa¬
ture to add to the majority already secured of the best men in the
legislature, I am, Very truly yours,