The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

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Mark Simonson

November 4, 2013

Local enthusiasm was high in 1968 presidential election


A total of 107 students, teachers, politicians and children gathered at 1 p.m. at Old Main, the original building for the State University College at Oneonta, which once stood at the top of Maple Street. They marched through downtown and to Academy Street, ending at the armory for speeches.

Organizer Joe Brill, a SUNY Oneonta student said, “We’re here because we’re dissatisfied…we’ve always had a small group who knows what’s happening.” Brill and others interviewed said they’d be casting their votes on Tuesday for Dick Gregory.

As most recall, the nationwide vote was close, with Nixon winning only by a small margin in the popular vote. Hubert Humphrey took New York State. In Oneonta, the Nixon-Agnew slate squeaked to victory by a 2,139 to 2,012 margin. George Wallace tallied only 136 votes.

For keeping watch on votes that year, Republican election night headquarters for Otsego County was in the upstairs meeting rooms of Jerry’s Restaurant, 15 Dietz St., once found where the parking lot is now at the corner of Wall Street. The Democratic headquarters was at the Rex Restaurant, 11-13 Prospect St., once found at today’s corner of South Main and Market Streets, where the Key Bank drive-up service is.

Oneonta had one slight problem in its voting. In the Fourth Ward there was a machine malfunction. At that time, voters in that ward came to The Oneonta Star office, from an entrance on High Street.

“You could split your vote, or vote twice,” The Star reported on Nov. 6. “It seems that all the levers over presidential and vice presidential candidates were operable and one didn’t lock when you made your choice. You could have voted for whomever you wanted.” The problem was isolated and the mixed-up vote had no effect on the overall outcome locally or nationally.

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Mark Simonson

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