Yesteryear: Debating the Electoral College; and who could forget hanging chads?

Barry Goldwater

Barry Goldwater

In the fall of 1964, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater faced off against Lyndon B. Johnson for the office of president of the United States.

Johnson, a Democrat, took over for the late John F. Kennedy and had been in office for 11 months prior to this election.

Much like our current political landscape, ads galore populated the newspaper.

Rhetoric wasn't in short supply that year. Here's an ad from the Thursday paper going into the election.

On Tuesday, November 3rd, you will go to the polls to select the next President of the United States. You will be picking the leader of our own great nation...and for the entire free world.

You will be selecting a man whose task it will be to unify the many diverse segments of the American social, economic and political picture into one strong and dedicated population.

You will be selecting a man whose hand will be on the nuclear trigger of the free world for the four years ahead.

You will be selecting a man who must serve the best interests of all the people.

We sincerely hope that you will select Lyndon B. Johnson as our next President and Hubert H. Humphrey as our next Vice-President.

The Republican Party had its own two-page ad, packed with just as much pomp as their Democratic counterparts.

In your heart you know he's right about peace.

Barry Goldwater says "I stand for the proven police of peace through strength that was the hallmark of the Eisenhower years. It served the cause of freedom and avoided war during the last Republican administration. It will do so again. The Republican party is the party of peace through preparedness. This administration is letting the peace slip away as it has three times since 1914."

Stand on principle, act on principle, vote for principle.

Preserve your freedoms to think and act for yourself.

Conserve your precious American heritage.

Vote for Barry Goldwater.

Goldwater lost the election that year by the largest margin in U.S. history: 52-486 electoral votes. He only took Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and Arizona.

Nov. 9, 2000

After a close election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, Americans were still unsure of who won the election going into the weekend. Bush and Gore had 246 and 266 electoral votes, respectively, and were waiting on the very tight Florida race, which carried 25 electoral votes, to decide the race.

Recounts, ballot controversy, and the "Bush v. Gore" Supreme Court decision would play out over the coming weeks.

A debate at the time was whether or not the Electoral College should be done away with for presidential elections. Both Miner editors at the time sounded off on the topic in their "Face to Face" column on the Opinion page. Here are some excerpts from their discussion:

Greg Bucci, News Editor: When I step into the voting booth on election day, I want to cast my ballot for the presidential candidate of my choice - not an Electoral College delegate.

And, correct me if I'm wrong, Sean, but I believe at least one election had the Electoral College vote at odds with the vote of the people. This one could be another.

That is wrong, Constitution or no Constitution.

Sean McMahon, Editor: I understand the need and desire of the Electoral College when it was formed. But in this day and age of instant communications around the globe, there shouldn't be much of a concern of the distances needed to travel to Washington D.C., to get the word of how the state did, etc.

It is time of the popular vote to do all the talking, and never has the reality of that been so apparent as it has been this election year.

That year Bush won Florida by a mere 537 votes, or 0.01 percent of votes cast in that state.

While Bush had the necessary electoral votes to claim the presidency, Gore had nearly 500,000 more votes than Bush and had won the popular vote.