Millions of people will be casting ballots for the first time on election day, and it reminds me of the first time I was old enough to vote.
I was a college student when President Ronald Reagan was being challenged by former Vice-President Walter Mondale in the election of 1984. The economy was starting to boom and despite Mondale’s historic choice of Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate, polls showed he was headed for a massive defeat.
My friends and I wanted to see some of the political action close up, so in the waning days of the campaign when we heard President Reagan was coming to Boston for a last minute stump stop, we were on our way to witness history.
Imagine that…a Republican campaigning in Massachusetts. The Kennedy Republicans helped propel Reagan to victory. He carried the Bay State, while Senator Ted Kennedy was re-elected with 61% of the vote.
By the way, that is Doug Flutie next to the president. A few weeks later, he would throw that Hail Mary pass that sports fans in Massachusetts still talk about.
Four years later, I was working election day as the assignment manager of WMUR-TV in Manchester, New Hampshire. It was pre-internet, so we monitored information over the phone. By 5PM, thanks to exit polls from ABC News that we were forbidden to report, we knew what our viewers would not learn for hours: that Vice-President George Bush was on his way to a landslide victory over Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.
My son and I voted this morning and he loved the chocolate doughnuts and the stickers. Kara took our daughter later and loved checking out the ballot.