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Small West Va. city finds charter still states women cannot vote

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FILE: Nov. 6, 2012: A women with a voting sticker on her pregnant belly during the U.S. presidential election, outside of the old Town Hall in Bristol, N.H.

Officials in the small West Virginia city of Sisterville have discovered that their town charter still allows only men to vote.

The provision was found this summer in the city's roughly 175-year-old charter when officials were trying to figure out how to replace the mayor who had resigned, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Nineteenth Amendment, ratified in 1920, prohibits denying U.S. citizens the right to vote, based on their sex. So city officials say there is no need to spend thousands in legal fees from their small budget to make the change.

However, some residents of Sisterville (pop. 1,588) have asked for the change, sparking a debate about suffrage.

City Attorney Carolyn Flannery told a local paper that amending the charter would require holding a public hearing and potentially a vote.

However, newly appointed Mayor Ann Doig told the The Intelligencer/ Wheeling (W.Va.) News Register earlier this week that she wants to work on altering the charter text "but to change a charter is extremely expensive.”

The city, on the banks of the Ohio River, was established in 1815 and is named for two sisters, Sarah and Delilah Wells, owners of the land upon which the city was built.