JACKSON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Many of us take our right to vote very seriously. But a Washington County, New York man has taken his civic duty to heart, and he hasn’t missed voting in a presidential election in 76 years.
To say Dick McGuire has a passion for American history would be a huge understatement. On his farm in the town of Jackson, he has created 12 small museums dedicated to early American life.
“These are ballot boxes from the 1800s.”
And speaking of voting, Dick also has a strong dedication to this right and civic duty.
“At 98, I’m still just as interested in voting as I am in the candidates.”
And on Election Day 2020, at the age of 98, Dick will be voting in a presidential election not just for the tenth or fifteenth time, but for the twentieth time.
Dick McGuire was born in 1922 and became eligible to vote at age 21, the age requirement before the 26th Amendment was ratified lowering the age to 18 for for all elections.
In 1944, he cast his first ballot in a presidential election when Franklin Delano Roosevelt won his fourth term in office when he defeated Thomas Dewey.
“It was a pretty exciting thing. And I think, at that time, a lot of voting was being done in the rural areas,” says McGuire.
The former Commissioner for Agriculture and Markets for New York State and a consultant to five presidents on agriculture has had a front seat to the world of politics as well as to some of our nation’s most troubled times.
“I remember the time of the Vietnam War there was a lot of unrest in the country and demonstrations against the war and that was the topic of the presidential election at the time.”
For decades, he has shown up to vote — rain or shine — and this year, neither COVID-19 nor long lines will deter him.
“I heard he was doing this for the twentieth time, and I thought that was really cool,” said Tom McMorris, Dick’s friend and local photographer.
McMorris will be documenting the day as Dick heads to his polling site to vote.
“It’s an important thing to do, and it’s important for people to know about it,” he added.
As for who he is voting for, Dick says that’s far less important than WHY he is voting.