Saturday, November 5, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your First Presidental Election

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun should make for some entertaining reading.  Randy Seaver, apparently forgetting that politics and religion should never be discussed in polite company, asked when his readers had first voted for a U.S. President:

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible music, please!):

(1)  The 2016 Presidential election is this coming Tuesday.  When did you vote in your first Presidential election and, if you choose, who did you vote for?  What about your parents?  When did they first vote?

(2)  Share your responses in comments to this blog post, in your own blog post, or on Facebook or Google+.  Please leave a link in Comments if you write your own blog post.

(1) I was born in 1962 and turned 18 in 1980, in time to vote in the Presidential election.  I registered as a Republican and voted for Ronald Reagan (and voted for him again for his second term).  I also performed with the USC Marching Band at two events for Reagan.  I've stayed a Republican throughout my life except for the 1996 primaries, when it was obvious that the only Republican choice on the ballot was going to be Bob Dole.  Rather than face that unpalatable option, I changed my registration to Democrat for the primaries, voted for Bill Clinton, and then changed back to Republican afterward.  I rarely seem to vote for Republican candidates anymore, but I just can't call myself a Democrat.

(2) What I remember growing up is that my father always voted Democrat and my mother always voted Republican, thereby cancelling each other's vote out.  Once my mother voted Democrat, but that was the time my father voted Republican, so it was still a net of zero.  My mother stayed Republican until the day she died, but my father at some point crossed lines, and now all the political junk e-mail I receive from him is heavily Republican in tenor.

My father was born in 1935 and would first have been eligible to vote in 1956, but I don't know if he registered that early.  I think he was still living in New Jersey then, but he might have been in Florida.  I don't know of any voter registers available online for either of those states.  My mother was born in 1940 and would first have been able to vote in 1961, after her arrival in California.  I'm pretty sure she registered as soon as she was eligible.

Unfortunately, I can't use the voter registration lists online at to look for my parents and verify their early party status because the Los Angeles County lists don't include 1962 or later, and my parents didn't arrive in California until 1961.

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