Election Day is just around the corner.  How about some fun election facts, these are courtesy of Readers Digest and Google. Of course I had to add my two cents worth.

Cartoonist Thomas Nash is credited with creating both the Republican and Democratic symbols, the elephant and the donkey, respectively, when he lampooned the political parties in a cartoon in Harper’s Weekly magazine in 1874. Soon people everywhere began using those symbols to represent the parties.

Interesting to know that buying votes with booze was the norm until 1811, when Maryland passed the first campaign finance reform law prohibiting the purchase of alcohol for voters. Apparently George Washington won his seat in Virginia after spending his entire campaign budget (50 pounds) on 160 gallons of liquor to serve to potential voters.

In  2014, South Carolina lawmakers joined the rest of the contiguous United States in repealing Election Day prohibition. Since 1882, the state had banned restaurants, stores, and bars from selling alcohol on polling days. Puerto Rico and some Alaskan jurisdictions still ban alcohol sales on election days.

“Election Day is about sorrow or joy, you should be able to buy a drink,” then-state Representative Bakari Sellers said when South Carolina made this historic decision.

Ever wonder why we vote on Tuesdays?- in the 19th century farmers had to travel long distances to the polling place they didn’t want to travel on Sunday (good church goers one and all) and they needed to be home on Wednesday for market day.  We vote in November because it is after the harvest. Many countries vote on weekdays but America is one of the few that doesn’t declare Election Day a holiday.

Voting is a privilege and the responsible thing to do but in recent elections, only about 60% of the voting eligible population votes during presidential election years, and about 40% votes during midterm elections. 

In Australia, folks are fined for not voting and the fines more than double after the first offense. A Belgian who fails to vote four times loses the right to vote for ten years.   

In France, citizens are automatically registered to vote when they turn 18 years old. In Sweden, eligible voters are automatically registered when they turn in their tax registration rolls. Oregon is the first and only state in the United States to use automatic voter registration.

In Gambia where there is are literacy issues citizens cast votes by dropping marbles into metal drums adorned with pictures of the candidates.  Each drum has a bell inside that rings after a marble is dropped.  This also eliminates voter fraud, if the bell rings more than once someone arrived with a hand full of marbles and is playing with the system.  

Taking a picture of your ballots is illegal in more than a dozen states. And in New Zealand, any media coverage – including social media – about politics is prohibited on election day because it could influence the outcome.(Now there is an idea that should catch on)

Some countries allow an option of ‘none of the above’ which allows voters to indicate disapproval of all candidates without staying home and sitting out the election.(Oh, how many times I wanted to do this) Only Nevada has this option.

I’ve always wondered about the success of write-in candidates and thought it was interesting to discover that as recently as 2006 and 2010 write-in candidate won seats in the House of  Representatives, in Ohio and the Senate in Alaska.

In 1994 Wyoming a tie vote was settled by pulling a ping-pong ball adorned with the  name of the winner out of a cowboy hat. In Nevada fittingly, they settle ties by drawing cards – high card wins.  This last happened in 2011, when neither candidate wanted to pay $600 for a recount.  

Worried about voter fraud? During the 1988 Mexican general election, the government claimed that all the computers had crashed when the opposition party was shown to be winning. After the reboot, the government’s party was miraculously ahead. All the ballots were later burned to remove evidence of the fraud.  

The 1927 general election in Liberia is the most corrupt election in history. Charles D. B. King, who was seeking a third term as president, won around 234,000 votes to his opponent’s 9,000. However, there were only 15,000 eligible voters in the country at the time.

In Saudi Arabia, women finally won the right to vote in 2015 (Now there is progress, apparently they can’t drive to the polling place or go without their husband but still . . ..)

In ancient Sparta, the government assembly would vote by shouting. The side who shouted the loudest would win the point. Aristotle called the practice “childish.” (Apparently some politicians think that is still in fashion.)

By its end, the 2020 presidential election race will have lasted 1,194 days. In my opinion, that’s about 1,049 days too many.  I vote we give the candidates 45 days; if they can’t state their business in that time they need to find another job.  By comparison the election season in Japan cannot last longer than 12 days.  In France they can last no longer than two weeks.  

By the time the votes are counted I’m way past tired of the whole process, but one thing is sure, next week at this time there will be cheers and tears.

 

4 replies
  1. Cindy
    Cindy says:

    I’m with you. My head is spinning, especially with the new constant announcements to vote as a TV ad every few hours. Also, the candidates need to stick to what their policies and what they want to do and no more badgering and telling untruths about the opposing candidate. Just talk about yourself and if your found telling a false statement you have a week of campaigning taking away!!! And make a donation to me 🤣

    Reply
    • Carrie Bonello
      Carrie Bonello says:

      I’m soooo through with the whole thing. I think a 45 day campaign schedule is something the US should seriously consider.

      Reply
  2. Ruth
    Ruth says:

    Surely we have to change our campaign rules. Put a limit on how long it can drag out, fine the person who lies, limit funds that can be spent, outlaw the email requests for donations, etc… This has become a circus!!!

    Reply
    • Carrie Bonello
      Carrie Bonello says:

      You are so right, Ruth, a circus best describes this whole election season. I’m sticking with my 45 day suggestion for a campaign schedule. If these folks can’t tell us what they plan to do for America in 45 days they better find another job.

      Reply

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