I’d like to personally send a heartfelt thank you to all who ran this past election cycle and congratulate those who won from the White House all the way down to the County offices. It takes a tremendous personal commitment to run for office, and the act of campaigning is a public service in and of itself. Our Democracy would crumble without people stepping forward and submitting themselves to what is admittedly a grueling process.
America voted in record numbers, standing in lines that snaked around blocks and in some places in pouring rain. Voters who queued up Tuesday and the millions who balloted early propelled 2008 to what one expert said was the highest turnout in a century.
It looks like 136.6 million Americans will have voted for president this election, based on 88 percent of the country’s precincts tallied and projections for absentee ballots, said Michael McDonald of George Mason University. Using his methods, that would give 2008 a 64.1 percent turnout rate.
“That would be the highest turnout rate that we’ve seen since 1908,” which was 65.7 percent, McDonald said early Wednesday. It also would beat the old post World War II high of 63.8 percent in the famed 1960 John F. Kennedy-Richard Nixon squeaker. The 1908 race elected William Howard Taft over William Jennings Bryan.
The total voting in 2008 easily outdistanced 2004’s 122.3 million, which had been the highest grand total of voters before.
That’s a good thing. No, make that a great thing. It mean the vast majority of Americans are engaged, and as history has shown us time and time again, when Americans are engaged and fully committed we prevail. We have a lot of challenges facing us in the coming months and years, but I have every confidence that when all is said and done we will once more come out on top. It’s the American way.