TIME politics

See Vintage Pictures of Female Voters in the Early Years of Suffrage

As Americans prepare to head to the polls, TIME takes a look back

As Tuesday’s election approaches, it’s clear that women voters will play a major role in the outcome. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have focused many aspects of their campaigns on gaining support from women, as gender issues have come front and center in the race. Earlier in the season, a FiveThirtyEight poll—and a map that dramatized the gender gap in the way women and men see the candidates—even prompted a hashtag calling for the repeal of the 19th Amendment, which upon its ratification in 1920 gave American women the right to vote.

A group that less than a century ago was still fighting for the right to vote has now become one of the most essential factors in this year’s election.

Though some states extended the vote to women before 1920, the constitutional amendment guaranteeing suffrage was a turning point in American politics. Women have voted more than men in every presidential election since 1980, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.

And, of course, there’s another way in which women are affecting this year’s presidential race: In 2016, for the first time ever, American voters will have the option of casting a vote for a woman on a major-party ticket.

Here, TIME looks back at the first decade of female voters.

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