March 2, 2012 •
Highlighted Site of the Week – This Week in History
The Office of the Clerk’s “Historical Highlights” site
For this week’s Highlighted Site, we turn to the Historical Highlights page of the United States House of Representatives’ Office of the Clerk. What I saw there rattled my ideas about electronic voting. When would you guess the first proposal was offered for electronic voting in Congress? I was way off. Take a look!
On this date in 1848, a Baltimore inventor named Francis Smith petitioned the U.S. House to adopt his “voting register,” a legislative telegraph to count the members’ votes. Smith sent a proposal and a prototype for the House to consider. Two other inventors did the same that year.
According to the site, “Despite repeated calls for modernizing the voting process, the House would not implement electronic voting until 1973.”
Other fascinating facts for this week:
February 28, 1860 – Representative Victor Berger of Wisconsin, the first Socialist Member of Congress
February 29, 1932 – Speaker John Nance Garner of Texas Receives a 400-Pound Gavel from his Constituents
March 1, 1945 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s final address to a Joint Session
Enjoy and have a terrific weekend!
Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress.
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