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Not another election story: ballots from 1892 presidential election donated by student

Misprinted election ballots showed up at Miami on election day. However, there was no cause for worry. These ballots were from the 1892 presidential ticket of Republicans Benjamin Harrison and Whitelaw Reid — the only one in history with graduates from the same university. Hank Reed, a soon-to-be graduate of that same university, donated ballots from that election to the university.

Reed, a junior political science major from Fairfield with a love for politics and political history, acquired the ballots from an auction site last summer with the intention of donating them to Miami. On Election Day 2000, he felt the "time was right" to follow through with his intention, not yet realizing the coincidences between Harrison’s election history and the current race.

An aspiring politician, Reed would one day like to follow in Harrison’s footsteps. He said he wanted to "give something back" to Miami for the education and opportunities he is receiving.

The donated ballots were from a lot in Parkman, Maine, that was recalled because of the mistake which listed the third party populist candidate James Weaver also as candidate for the union labor party. Interestingly, Weaver, with strong support for his position promoting the mining of silver, won 22 electoral votes and the states of Nevada, Kansas, North Dakota and Colorado, the only third party candidate between 1860-1912 to carry a single state.

Although Harrison lost to Grover Cleveland in 1892, he’d won the 1888 election with the majority of electoral votes to become the country’s 23rd president — despite Cleveland winning nearly 100,000 more popular votes in that election. As of press time, this was only the third time in history that the popular vote winner did not win.

The ballots may be viewed at the Walter Havighurst Special Collections at King Library, and one is also on display in the Benjamin Harrison exhibit located in the lobby of Harrison Hall.

Date Published: 11/30/2000
Volume: 20   Number: 17


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