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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Instant poll results reported by ‘lusty-lunged megaphoners’

Early afternoon returns were favorable for Warren G. Harding on Election Day 1920, according to the front page of the Spokane Daily Chronicle.  (S-R archives)
Early afternoon returns were favorable for Warren G. Harding on Election Day 1920, according to the front page of the Spokane Daily Chronicle. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

It was election day in 1920, and the Spokane Daily Chronicle was already reporting early returns by mid- afternoon.

A headline claimed that Republican Warren G. Harding was ahead by a big margin in those states where the polls closed early.

Those who wanted the latest returns were advised to gather outside the Chronicle building downtown, where a staff of “lusty-lunged megaphoners” would announce the latest developments.

The Associated Press wire and the Northwest news wires would be monitored by a “force of local tabulators.” A stereopticon (slide projector) operator would flash the numbers on a large screen.

“Special news service pictures and travel views, with an assortment of comedy and cartoon slides, will also be shown,” the Chronicle reported.

The early returns would turn out to be prophetic, as Harding easily won the election.

From the poll beat: The Chronicle also reported that James N. Glover, the aged “father of Spokane,” was escorted to the polls by a U.S. senator, Miles Poindexter, and a U.S. congressman, J. Stanley Webster.

Glover wore the “silk tile hat he had not worn since 1893.” He told reporters he was eager to cast a Republican ballot, as he did for Lincoln 60 years ago.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1783: General George Washington issued his Farewell Address to the Army near Princeton, New Jersey.

1948: President Harry S. Truman surprised the experts, winning a narrow upset over Republican challenger Thomas E. Dewey.

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