On the eve of the 2016 election, it is worth reflecting on the history of women's voting. Up to this weighty task is a new book by J. Kevin Corder
and Christina Wolbrecht
. They are the authors of Counting Women's Ballots: Female Voters from Suffrage through the New Deal
(Cambridge University Press, 2016). Corder is professor of political science at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and Wolbrecht is associate professor of political science and director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame. Textbooks have long given scant details of how the first women voters turned out at the polls. Corder and Wolbrecht compile new data and methods to provide nuance and detail to this issue. What they find is that women's voting patterns varied greatly by political context. Where women lived, the parties they supported, and the competitiveness of elections related to strongly to turn out. Because context mattered so much, women intensified partisan differences in some parts of the country, while they introduced dramatic new dynamics in others.