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We, the People: A Retrospective Look on Elections

Oviatt Library Lobby Exhibition
October 20 – December 19, 2008

The latest Oviatt Library Lobby Exhibit featured a snapshot of democracy in action. As visitors entered the lobby, they were surrounded by images, hung from the ceiling, of presidents from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush — an invitation to experience the exhibit and the political process this election season.

Items displayed in the lobby and in the exhibit cases included action photographs of presidents from President John F. Kennedy to President George W. Bush; lists of reasons and excuses people have given why they do not vote; Presidential Approval Ratings; the history of the American political party system; and a brief view of twenty-one nations, their average voter turnout, and how each nation encourages voter participation – some using compulsory voting and automatic registration.

Additionally, exhibit cases contained selected books on the American Presidency; photos of the women candidates who have paved the way for a woman to one day become President; items depicting the struggle for women’s suffrage, information about the voter participation of minorities, and graphs of voting patterns from recent elections; and important federal legislation such as the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, and the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution making 18 the voting age.

The exhibition was curated by Librarian Eric P. Garcia.