PHOTOS • BY BILL BROWN
NOV 8—Voters waited in a long line to scan their votes on the two scanning machines available late this morning at the Takoma Park Recreation Center polling place. The center’s parking lot was full at 11:15 a.m. Traffic-control workers directed drivers to nearby apartment-building lots.
Earlier in the day, around 9:30 a.m., the Piney Branch Elementary School polling place had only a few voters and no lines following a heavier early morning turnout.
Historic Takoma president Diana Kohn shared these historical election tidbits.
The first time voters cast their ballots as Takoma residents was the 1884 election: Grover Cleveland vs. James Blaine. With only six houses standing in Takoma, only a handful were eligible to vote. Democrat Cleveland squeaked out a narrow victory, with New York casting the deciding vote in the electoral college.
Much like this year, the campaign was filled with bitter mudslinging and scandalous accusations. Democrat Cleveland admitted to fathering a child out of wedlock (“Ma! Ma! Where’s my Pa?“).
Republican Blaine was tainted by questionable financial dealings while on the public payroll (“Blaine, Blaine, the continental liar from the state of Maine”). In the final week of the campaign, Blaine stood by silently when a supporter described the Democrats as the party of “rum, Romanism, and rebellion,” costing him the Irish votes he needed to win.
In the 1888 election, Takoma founder B.F. Gilbert supported the Republican Benjamin Harrison and built a log cabin to evoke the “Log Cabin” campaign of Harrison’s grandfather. Harrison lost the
popular vote to the incumbent Grover Cleveland but prevailed in the electoral college. The cabin became the local Republican party headquarters, burning down in 1915. The site of the cabin in Old Town is now home to Jeff Black’s Republic
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