The only such signed ballots we have ever seen offered for sale, these having been cast for FDR from his home state of New York
The 1936 presidential election took place during the Great Depression and pitted Roosevelt and Vice President John Garner against Alf Landon. The election was a referendum on President Roosevelt’s first-term policies. The latter was crushingly defeated and FDR went on to serve his second term, one which would witness the outbreak of...
The 1936 presidential election took place during the Great Depression and pitted Roosevelt and Vice President John Garner against Alf Landon. The election was a referendum on President Roosevelt’s first-term policies. The latter was crushingly defeated and FDR went on to serve his second term, one which would witness the outbreak of World War II. In the election, FDR’s home state, New York, naturally went to him.
Congress met to certify the election results in early January 1937, with FDR being sworn in on January 20.
John Godfrey Saxe was a prominent Manhattan lawyer and a member of the New York State Senate. He became the president of the New York Bar association. Very likely he was an elector in the 1936 election, and had asked FDR for sign his state’s electoral ballots. Vice President Garner was asked for a similar favor.
FDR and Vice President Garner then took the remarkable step of agreeing and signing the New York ballots.
Document signed by Franklin Roosevelt, being the ballot cast by a New York elector who had voted for the president
Document signed by John Garner, being the ballot cast by a New York elector who had voted for the vice president.
Included is the cover letter sending the ballot:
Typed letter signed, February 27, 1937, Edward Flynn, to John Godfrey Saxe. “President Franklin Roosevelt has honored the Electors of the State of New York by autographing their ballots and only theirs. His tasks are already so heavy it seemed to be a great favor to ask. Vice President Garner has also autographed his.
“The minutes of the Elector College are at the printers but due to the pressure of work during the session delivery has been delayed. Then [when] they are sent to you under separate cover you will also receive a photostatic copy of the check you so generously donated to the Warm Springs Foundation.”
Although New York had 47 electors, public records do not disclose any other such document having been offered for sale, nor have we see another of any president having reached the market.
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