My first voting experience was in the 2008 Presidential primaries. I woke up early and raced to the closest voting station, determined to beat the crowd. But when I arrived, no one was there but several sweet ladies waiting to give me instructions and a bright, red “I Voted!” sticker.
I wore that sticker with pride, but the condescending looks I received for my youthful exuberance left me wondering. The submission of my ballot had felt embarrassingly anticlimactic, like I had expected ticker tape to fall when I pressed the submit button.
- In 1880, James Garfield defeated Winfield Hancock for President by just 0.1% of the popular vote.
- Four years later, Grover Cleveland defeated James Blaine by 0.7%.
- In 1960, John F. Kennedy secured victory over Richard Nixon by 0.1% of the popular vote.
- The 2000 Presidential standoff between George Bush and Al Gore was decided by “a single state and a few hundred votes”.
- The 1976 archetypal photo of Harry Truman holding the newspaper prematurely declaring Dewey’s anticipated win provides an example of not only how close races can be, but how every citizen’s vote can add up to bring unexpected victory.
June 26th and July 3rd are CAP voter registration Sundays. CAP has created a Voter Registration Kit with everything you need to start a registration drive at your church. Talk with your pastor to see if this is something you can do, then click here to order your kit.