We have stacks and stacks of Ohio Room materials pulled out as fact-checking resources for the next edition of UA Historical Society’s History of Upper Arlington. I picked up Architecture Columbus, and as I was flipping through, a photo of a very small building identified as a “Columbus Voting Booth, circa 1900” caught my eye. What’s this?
A small building on wheels, that was transported to different locations around Columbus to allow people to cast their votes. In the essay, “The Secret Life of James Thurber,” in Thurber Carnival), he mentions accompanying his father as he cast a vote for Ohio’s own McKinley in 1900 at a “booth” just like this, set up somewhere on Mound St. “It was a drab and somewhat battered tin shed set on wheels…” (If you are interested in seeing one of these mobile voting booths, there is a picture showing the one at Hilliard’s Historical Village.)
This little photo made me think about our electoral process and how much it has meant to people through our history to be able to cast their votes. So, as contentious as this election is, it’s still a great privilege. If you need any info–about your local ballot—local, state and national, Erin has created a terrific General Election 2016 resource page.
We have many unusual books that can tell you more about the history of our elections, campaigns, and parties. Here are just a few:
- Encyclopedia of Third Parties – Read about >80 third parties! The U.S. has a long history of citizens developing alternatives to the two-party system. Ever heard of the “Know Nothings?”
- Encyclopedia of Presidential Campaigns, Slogans, Issues, and Platforms - Make America Great Again? How about “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion” (Garfield), or “Safety, Solvency & Sobriety” (Hoover)! A fun collection of information about the rhetoric of presidential campaigns from 1789 forward.
- Presidential Elections 1789-2008– A great primer with an overview of how a campaign runs, the history of elections, primaries, popular vote and the electoral college, with statistics and graphics.