This article discusses the Senate’s actions toward implementing Prohibition in the District of Columbia. I found it rather interesting that the Senators were willing to hold a referendum on Prohibition and let District residents vote for the first time since the 1870s. More importantly, the referendum was to include women, who did not earn the right to vote until the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
SENATE TIE ON PROHIBITION
But Suffrage Wins a Referendum Test Vote, 54 to 15
Special to The New York Times.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 19- The first test of prohibition sentiment in the Senate came today when a vote on Senator Underwood’s amendment to Senator Sheppard’s bill providing for a referendum on the establishment of prohibition in the District of Columbia, resulted in a tie, 38 to 38. Immediately before the Senate had gone on record overwhelmingly for at least a limited degree of women suffrage, but voting 54 to 15 to accept an amendment giving the women of the District the right to vote under the terms of the referendum.
According to the Senate rules the tie vote defeated the referendum proposal, but as the Senate was at the time acting in Committee of the Whole, Senator Underwood announced his intention of bringing the amendment up again tomorrow when the bill will be reported by the committee to the Senate. A vote on the bill itself is also expected tomorrow.
The provision for a referendum was generally supported by the opponents of the prohibition movement, and today’s vote was commonly regarded as an accurate gauge of the strength of the prohibition forces. Both advocates and opponents of national prohibition have watched the course of the District prohibition bill in the Senate with increasing interest since the House Committee on Judiciary voted to report favorably the national prohibition amendment.
The two parties were very evenly divided today in the vote on the referendum. Twenty-three Democrats and fifteen Republicans voted in favor of the referendum and twenty Democrats and eighteen Republicans opposed it.
Before the vote was taken an amendment offered by Senator Williams of Mississippi was accepted, permitting women to vote, and inserting property and educational qualifications in the requirements for suffrage on the referendum vote. Senator Jones’s amendment making it possible for residents of the District who are citizens of other States to vote was also accepted.
The vote came unexpectedly after a long afternoon’s debate. As soon as the fate of the referendum was known Senator Underwood attempted to fix a definite time tomorrow at which his amendment could be voted on again by the whole Senate. The move was defeated, and the advocates of the prohibition measure attempted to force an immediate vote on the bill itself. They were forestalled by Senator Stone of Missouri, who made a motion that the Senate go into executive session to consider some appointments recently made by the President. The motion was carried, and the final decision on the Sheppard bill was postponed until tomorrow.
This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article. The document was obtained from the New York Times archives and is in the public domain. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.