The recent talk of the archive world is this article from the Atlantic. I know this because I was sent it by my colleagues here at Tufts and my colleagues at AAS. In essence, it points out that what people term “discoveries” aren’t really discoveries. They’re in the archives and have been preserved, but many archives don’t know everything that’s there because there isn’t time enough in the world for item-level cataloging.
Well, at A New Nation Votes we know what we have – over 40,000 pages of election information. But as we get to the nitty-gritty of election results, we do find some amusing tidbits. (Well, we find them amusing.) Like the fact that in 1821, one person in the town of Boston (Boston didn’t become a city until the next year) voted for Napoleon Buonoparte for Governor. Napoleon got only the one vote, which was good, since he was in exile on St. Helena at the time and he died only a couple of weeks after the election was held.
There was also the congressional race in the 16th District in New York in 1804, when Judas Iscariot got one vote. And that wasn’t Judas’ only vote in New York. He received a vote in the Assembly race in Washington County two years later, along with Napoleon, Talleyrand and Benedict Arnold. Clearly some voters weren’t happy with their choices for candidates.
So, remember, whether you voted for Bill Clinton or Bill the Cat (my go-to write-in vote in elections that frustrate me thanks to years of Bloom County), your vote has been recorded for posterity. And you might just create a good laugh for some researcher 200 years from now.