Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Facts

Today is Election Day in the United States. Officials estimate that 28.8 million people have already voted in the 34 states that allow early voting. Many people in every state have waited hours to get to vote. One of my cousins in Ohio waited four hours, while a good friend here in Tennessee waited over 90 minutes. We've heard that some people in Florida and California have waited eight hours.

I imagine we'll have long lines all day, today. I took these photos right at 7AM this morning just after our polling place, Harpeth Valley Elementary School, opened its doors. There were over 100 people in line at the time. The signs around the school were all for Obama and Lamar Alexander, our senior senator. (Lamar, if you are familiar with him, was known for red/black plaid, flannel shirts, hence the sign.)

(A quick side story: In 1992, I was precinct coordinator for our polling place in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the school janitor forgot to come to school early (We had to be there at 5:30 am to get supplies ready.). We called the Board of Elections, but there was little they could do. Finally, the janitor showed up at 6:45 am. My workers got everything together quickly, and we were only 20-25 min. late in opening the polling place. We had lines around the school most of the day, and while the polls closed at 7:00, we ended up with voters in place almost an hour later. We were exhausted, but we were thrilled at the turnout.)

I think most of us in the US feel this election started in November, 2004. In case you've forgotten some of what's gone on, though, here are a couple of facts:

* Republican John Cox (Cook County, IL Recorder of Deeds) was the 1st to announce his candidacy for the presidency on 3/9/06. His campaign didn't go very far.
* Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsak was the first Democrat to throw his hat in the ring on 11/30/06. He didn't last long, either.
* Hillary Clinton announced she would run on 1/20/07, followed closely by Barack Obama on 2/10/07.
* John McCain announced his candidacy on 2/27/07.
*In addition to the Dems and Republicans, other parties have candidates on the presidential ballot this year: Bob Barr(Libertarian), Chuck Baldwin (Constitution), Cynthia McKinney (Green) and Ralph Nader (Independent). Ted Weill (Reform) is on the ballot only in MS.
* This is the first election:
**in which two sitting senators are running against each other.
**that an African-American has been nominated by a major party.
**that both candidates were born outside of the continental US (Obama in Hawaii & McCain in Panama Canal Zone)
**since 1928 that an incumbent president or his VP has not run for the top office.
**that the Republicans have nominated a female VP candidate.

And, in case you want more, here are a couple of other fun facts:
*The first US election was in 1789. George Washington won the presidency, and John Adams the vice presidency. There were 38,818 popular votes cast.
*In 1888, President Grover Cleveland lost his bid for re-election to Benjamin Harrison, but regained the White House in 1892.
*In 1948, the Chicago Tribune declared Thomas Dewey the winner while Harry Truman had about 2000000 more popular votes and over 120 electoral votes.
*The closest election in history was the 1960 election where Kennedy received 34,266,731 votes to Nixon's 34,108,157. Kennedy actually had 303 electoral votes to Nixon's 219.
*In 1984, Ronald Reagan received the most popular votes (54,455, 075) and electoral votes (525).
*Also in 1984, the Democrats nominated Geraldine Ferraro as the first female VP candidate.
*The closest electoral vote was in 2000 with George Bush receiving 271 votes to Al Gore's 266. Gore won the popular vote with 50,992,335 to Bush's 50,455,156.


brian said...

Nice post, I love trivia like this!! And WOW - I still can't believe the day is finally here. I feel confident, but don't want to be disappointed like 2004!

I took my pic at our polling place earlier this morning -- no lines at all in our area, but it is a small town =)

Tanya said...

You have long lines there. There wasn't any line when I was at the polls near 8 this morning. Not that people aren't voting, just a small town poll :)

Olivier said...

tout le monde vient le matin, c'est à cause de son travail ? En France on vote, le weekend pour ne pas prendre sur son temps de travail.
everybody comes in the morning, it is because of its job ? In France they vote, the weekend not to take at its working time.

Sharon said...

What a fantastic list of facts and congratulations to you for being so involved. Also, thanks for the comments on my site.

Petrea said...

Great facts, great post! That electoral college has got to go, don't you think? It was originally created because our founders didn't think the voters were intelligent or informed enough to decide for themselves. I'd say that's changed in the intervening years!

Jim said...

Man this day is dragging. Love the post!

Mo said...

So glad this day is finally here!

Virginia said...

Gads, this has been the most long drawn out nightmare. But it's OVER, DONE WITH, NO MORE BS, at least presidential campaign BS! HA
Good post today and congrats on your upcoming trip.

Felicia said...

I enjoyed your list of facts. I agree with Jim, this seems like the longest day of the year!

Anonymous said...

I will prop my eyelids open with tooth picks tonight, hoping to learn the winner. I am glad it is over.

Rambling Round said...

You have documented this well, Chris. I had never heard of early voting til this year. Alabama doesn't have that.

AVCR8TEUR said...

I voted by absentee ballot this time around to avoid the lines. Nice fact list. It reminds me of my first election back in 1984 where I voted for the Mondale/Ferraro ticket.