The Presidential Election Turns 226by Representative Ted Poe
Posted on 2015-01-09
in the house of representatives
Friday, January 9, 2015
Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, this week 226 years ago, the first
presidential election in United States history was held across the 13
original colonies. Nowadays things change in the blink of an eye, so
one can imagine how much our country has changed in 226 years.
Texas was still a part of the Spanish Empire in 1789 and the United States had just recently gained its independence from the British Empire. Back then, voting eligible citizens would walk or ride their horses down cobblestone roads to the nearest poll.
Oddly enough, the first voters voted by voice, rather than the secret ballot that we're all used to now. Voters wouldn't even vote for who they wanted as President, but would actually vote for their state's electors. The chosen electors would then cast their vote for President. Though we still have electors, citizens now vote for who they believe should be President rather than their state's electors. Electors are instead chosen by state governments and then each one is expected to vote with the will of the people of their state. The Electoral College voting system has been one of the lone constants in an ever-changing political and voting landscape. It was used in the first Presidential election and has been used in every election since.
While the Electoral College has remained in place since 1789, voting rights have changed significantly over the years. For the first Presidential election, an eligible voter was defined as any white, land-owning male. However, our country has progressed a great deal since then and now defines an eligible voter as any citizen over the age of 18, regardless of race, gender, or societal status.
We should be proud to live in a country whose government recognizes everyone as equal and allows each individual to vote, regardless of race or gender. From 13 colonies to 50 states and from voting by voice to voting on touch-screen computers, our elections have come a long way since 1789, and I expect the next 226 years to be just as great.
And that's just the way it is.