Reporter’s notebook: 107-year-old casts vote in 22nd straight presidential election

I’m pleased to report to all interested Fox News followers that my dad, now 107 years old, has voted again.

For the record, it is Ed Palkot’s 22nd consecutive presidential election (along with countless-mid-term and local votes).  Afraid, with all that’s been happening, we had somehow let this one slip by, I asked him recently about it. 

“Oh sure, I voted,” he replied casually.

Born in 1913 in Pittsburgh, Pa. to a working-class immigrant family, he had already witnessed a world war (he recalls watching the “Dough Boys” marching home after Armistice Day), a global pandemic (he got the Spanish Flu and survived), and the Great Depression (holding down multiple jobs to get by).     

Ed Palkot has been voting in every presidential election since the 1930s. 

Ed Palkot has been voting in every presidential election since the 1930s.  (Greg Palkot)

By 1936 he was ready to cast his first big vote. And he’s never looked back, exercising his democratic right through decades more of war, peace, social strife, and the good old 1950s.

In the Palkot household, Election Day was sacrosanct. All of us kids were taught it was our duty to vote and he led by example.

This time around, with the help of my sister Barbara, Long Island, N.Y. resident Ed voted by mail-in ballot. Not his preference but when you’re up in his centenarian-plus age range and you’re tangling with a new pandemic, it was probably the safe way to go. The Nassau County Board of Elections has confirmed that Dad is in their system.

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You’re probably wondering how my father voted. Down through the years, I’d describe him as Republican/Independent.

“I think I voted for FDR once” he’s confided to me. He’s voted, as well, as I recall, for at least one third-party candidate.    

This year I can tell you, with no equivocation, Ed Palkot voted for Donald Trump – or, Joe Biden. Crafty to the bitter end, he has told various family members at various times in recent weeks competing choices. No doubt, I’d like to think, to keep his selection between him and the Founding Fathers. 

Greg Palkot and his father, Thanksgiving 2019. 

Greg Palkot and his father, Thanksgiving 2019.  (Greg Palkot)

In fact, just recently unearthed from one of the far corners of Dad’s house was a mini-sized colonial era costume he wore when he played George Washington in a school play many years ago. On the stage, watching from seats of honor, Dad has told me, were actual living veterans of the Civil War.

Now we are in another time of national political strife, which some analysts have compared to Abraham Lincoln’s era. I’ve asked Dad on multiple occasions what he thinks of the level of today’s political discourse. He just groans and says he’ll be happy when this campaign is finished.    

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No doubt, though, with all of his other pursuits, when this election is settled, Dad, along with other White House hopefuls, will start gearing up for the next presidential race: his 23rd.

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