5 Fun Facts About Voting
The 2020 General Election is just one week away! To get you in the voting spirit, we have put together some fun facts all about voting! You’ll get to learn about the history and transformation of voting as we know it. Check out these fascinating stories:
- Did you know that astronauts are able to vote from space? Voting in space has been possible since 1997! Secure electronic ballots are uplinked by Johnson’s Mission Control Center to a voting crew member aboard the International Space Station. Astronauts are able to cast their vote and then their completed, encoded ballots are downlinked and delivered to the County Clerk’s office by email. Many astronauts choose to vote as Texas residents because Houston is where they complete their training! You can read more about this process on NASA’s website.
- The editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast can be credited for creating the party symbols of the Republican and Democratic parties. Nast drew the famous elephant and donkey together as a political cartoon in Harper’s Weekly magazine in 1879. The creation of party symbols helped to dramatize political issues and helped to reach Americans who could not read. You can see some of these renderings in the Smithsonian magazine online.
- Gerald Ford is the only person who served as president and vice president without being elected to either office. His 895-day term in office is also the shortest in US history for any president who did not die in office. Ford was appointed as vice president by President Nixon in 1973 after Spiro Agnew resigned from the position. Less than a year later, Nixon resigned from the presidency after the Watergate scandal and Gerald Ford assumed the presidency. Learn more about Ford’s ascension on History.com.
- The first woman ran for president in 1872. Victoria Woodhull ran on a platform of women’s suffrage, regulation of monopolies, an eight-hour workday, and welfare for the poor. Her name only appeared on the ballot in some states and no one knows how many votes she received because they were apparently not counted. You can learn more about Victoria Woodhull’s life and political aspirations on History.com.
- Voting is required by law in Australia. More than 90% of eligible voters turn up to vote on election day (which is held on a Saturday). If you don’t vote, you can be fined 20-79 Australian dollars. But, according to most locals, “Voting in Australia is like a party” complete with community barbeques and “democracy sausages”. I’m in full support of virtual Election Day block parties this year, who else is in? For more information on compulsory voting, check out this article in the New York Times.
Voting has a long and interesting history, and you can be a part of this history in the United States by casting your vote on November 3rd!
If you haven’t voted yet, it’s not too late. If you have a mail-in ballot, you can complete it and drop it off at an official ballot drop box location to make sure that your vote is counted in time. If you would prefer to vote in person, many states are offering early voting locations where you can register to vote and cast your ballot on the same day! If you are concerned about how to get to a polling place this election season, Lyft is offering a Ride to Vote program and Uber is also offering in-app features and discounts to provide affordable and reliable transportation for eligible voters. Make sure to wear your mask and practice social distancing at polling sites so that we can all stay safe and healthy while exercising our rights to vote!
We’ll see you again on Election Day!
Hopefully these fun facts helped to engage you in our political process in a different way this week. Consider the following questions to reflect on your political engagement as we lead up to Election Day:
- In what ways have you engaged in our political process?
- What encourages you to engage in our political process? What discourages you?
- What do you wish could Start, Stop, and Continue in regards to how politics works in this country?
- What is one commitment you can make in regards to civic engagement moving forward?
*Meet the Author*
Caelan Cooney is the Operations Manager for Leadership Inspirations. She got her start in leadership as a high school DECA student and went on to graduate from Chapman University with degrees in Business Management and Integrated Educational Studies. As a regular contributor to From the Balcony, her favorite topics to explore are personality theory, group development, and conflict management. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and listening to podcasts.
Favorite Quote: “I am still learning” – Michelangelo
Fun Facts: 1) I once bought a goat on Craigslist 2) I am afraid of escalators 3) My life goal is to give a TedTalk