Are your kids watching the election results? Eden Prairie resident Wade Johnson remembers staying up late during the first Reagan election and eating popcorn as his family watched the election returns, his parents crossing their fingers for Reagan to win. “I remember seeing the states were blue or red, and my parents would guess which state would go which way,” Johnson said. “As kids that was something very visual and we were able to attach one party to one color.”
Amy Twedt also remembers driving twenty minutes to the polls from her rural home near Hutchinson to watch her parents vote. “I don’t recall the political campaigns, but I remember the activity of the evening,” she said. She remains an apolitical McCain supporter, but Twedt brought her daughter to the polls to watch her vote.
Today I spoke with dozens of voters about their earliest political memories and their current choice for president. Talking to voters in Uptown, North Minneapolis, and Eden Prairie, one thing became clear: voters’ most vivid political memories as children often involve going to the polls with their parents and watching the election returns. Whether you’re chanting GObama or Win Baby Win, ask yourself whether you’ve got the popcorn laid out for your kids, nieces, nephews and young friends. More likely than not, they’ll cite tonight twenty years down the line when some reporter asks them, “what was your most vivid political memory as a child.”
In the meantime check out these pictures and quotes from voters at the polls.
“I have been her for seventy years, but I have not seen one person that I know in this polling place. There are so many new people, so many young people. They may be grandkids of people I do know, but I do not know anyone here right now.” –Dora C. Buckner, 71, Northside Resident
Fourth graders vote for national and state elections, as well as student council elections, at Jefferson Community School. Photo by Toni Lopez
“We had a wonderful opportunity to work to prepare for the elections. We practiced voting in our classrooms, we’ve been working on surveys and we’ve also been talking about our responsibility as voters, and how we as fourth graders can be part of the democratic process. We even had a town hall meeting.” –Susan Saly 46, teacher at Jefferson Community School
Voters at the Minneapolis Urban League brought their children with them to the polls.
Minnesota allows same day registration. According to the Minnesota Secretary of State office, for the most part the day went smoothly at most voting polls with the exception of abnormally long lines.
Fourth graders from Jefferson Community School hold up their ballots.
“I felt prepared to vote. I went on the internet and I looked and saw [the candidates’] history and I saw which one was better. We need a younger president, and McCain is a good person, but we have to see how their ideas are going to work. I voted for Obama because he has good ideas on how to help change our community…Plus he hasn’t made fun of any one on TV, and people who talked about him, well he didn’t do anything about that. He just took it in and didn’t do anything about that.” -Maria Epiphany Robinson, 12, Jefferson Community School. (Not pictured)
Eden Prairie city officials and volunteers field election related calls at City Center.
At a mega church in Eden Prairie I encountered a particularly earnest election judge. Not trusting my press credentials, she told me to go to city hall to get a written note from an elected official stating I was indeed a member of the media. Dutifully, I made my way to city hall, feeling like I was getting a note from teh Doctor for missing school. At the election center, an Eden Prairie representative quickly picked up one of the more than 12 phones and called the 19th precinct. “Let Lisa in,” she told the election judge, and voila, I made it into the polls.