Week 44: Voting

My Mom, Anne, was born in November of 1920. She would be among the first women to grow up in a country where women were able to vote. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in August of that year giving women the right to vote after decades of protests, marches and struggles to gain that approval. Mom would have been 18 in 1938 so her first presidential election would have been in 1940 when Franklin D. Roosevelt ran against Wendell Wilkie for an unprecedented third term.

Anne at age 18

The country was emerging from the Great Depression and on the verge of war. Knowing my Mom’s later political thoughts I imagine that she voted for Wilkie…but I could be wrong. My recollection of political discussions in my family was that they were mostly pro-Republican. I’m pretty sure that both my parents would have voted that year because voting was considered very important in the culture of my midwestern town.

I remember the 1948 election when Harry Truman defeated Republican NY Governor Tom Dewey. I was 8 years old but clearly remember the premature newspaper headlines declaring Dewey the winner when Truman actually got the most votes when all was said and done! By the time I was old enough to vote it was 1960 and I was married. The candidates for President were John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. I clearly remember the debate between Kennedy and Nixon because it was the first televised debate. Jim and I watched on our black and white TV and were impressed with Kennedy’s smooth handling of qhestions and not impressed with Nixon’s sweaty and nervous responses. Kennedy easily won the electoral vote but the popular vote was close and contested. That was my first experience voting in a presidential election. I do not recall missing a vote for president since then.

I’m somewhat of a political junkie and always enjoy watching debates and following the news to see what is the latest scandal that is uncovered at the last minute so the candidate doesn’t have time to respond. For many years I always went to the polling place to vote. When I started to travel for my work I began to vote by absentee ballot but always held off mailing it in until the week before the election. I’m sure that there is some voting fraud in the mail or in person balloting but I trust that the overall process works (even though I come from the Chicago area where it is said whole graveyards rise up and go to the voting polls). I believe my vote counts and looking forward to my next opportunity to cast my ballot.

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