Voting Booths & Casseroles

As a kid, voting took place in a church about six miles away from our farm. The small space served as a precinct for all the people in the Clarksville area. There would be a potluck lunch with Jell-O salads, creamy casseroles, and homemade pies in a variety of flavors. While people mingled upstairs, my younger sister and I ran around the basement with the other kids ducking under the curtains of the voting booths until people needed to vote.

Years later, they wouldn’t allow the church to hold elections this way—afraid of electioneering. But I’m glad that my first memory of voting is one of a festive occasion, a communal activity. No matter how they voted—though I’d wager most people voted similarly—people came together to enjoy the event and enjoy each other’s company.

My great-grandma always voted a straight Democratic ticket, so my father would say he needed to get to the polls in time to cancel out her vote. Regardless of whose ballot you’re trying to cancel out, make sure you take the time to vote!

Here are some fun facts borrowed from the website:

  • The Millennial generation already makes up 1/5 of the electorate. By 2015, they will account for 1/3.
  • Compared to 2000, young voters have more than doubled their turnout in the 2008 primaries and caucuses. For example, in Texas, the number of 18-29 year old voters grew 301%.
  • In both the 2006 and the 2008 primaries, young voters made the difference in several tight races. Senator Obama owes his caucus win in Iowa to 18-29 year olds, and a winning margin among the youth vote helped Senator McCain win in California.
  • The 2008 presidential election was the first in decades where candidates were actively and aggressively courting the youth vote. In the primaries, four candidates from both parties had full-time, national youth outreach directors.
  • Young Latinos are the largest, and fastest-growing ethnic subset of young adults; 50,000 young Latinos turn 18 each month, and Latinos make up 17% of the youth electorate.
  • In comparison to other people of color, young African-Americans voters are more likely to vote regularly, donate money to candidates, and display a campaign button or sign.
  • Since 2004, young women have led the turnout increase witnessed among young adults overall. In both 2004 and 2006, young women voted at rates seven and three points higher than young men.
  • The majority of young voters identify themselves as Democrat (47%), with 55% of young women classified as Democrats, compared to 38% of men.
  • Overall, 28% of young voters identify as Republicans, with 30% of young men categorizing themselves as Republican, compared to 26% of young women.
  • Republican identification is also highest among Caucasian youth, with 35% identifying as Republican.
  • Research shows that young voters with college experience are much more likely to vote than their non-college counterparts. Although ½ of young Americans ages 18-29 have never enrolled in college, 79% of the young voters on Super Tuesday attended college.

What’s your first memory of election day?


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