Tompkins County Voter Enrollment Records

Cover Image:
Tompkins County Voter Enrollment Records
Cover of the Tompkins County Enrollment of Voters, 1920-1921 - Image Source

Collection Facts


Historical Context

Voter enrollment information shows political affiliations, and can offer insights into the civic climate of a community over time. Tompkins County, now a bastion of reliably liberal voting, used to be a more conservative community with voting leaning heavily Republican. In the 1944 election Dewey beat FDR by a margin of 2 to 1, and in 1948 13,000 voters went for Dewey while 5,500 voted for Truman. Presidential elections reflect similar disparities throughout most of the 20th century (in 1972 Nixon's almost 17,000 votes outpaced McGovern's 11,000). But in the 21st century the tide turned dramatically: Kerry won more than 63 percent of Tompkins County votes against George Bush, and in 2008 Obama won the county with 78 percent of the total vote.

Scope of Collection

This collection comprises 28 volumes of voter enrollment data for Tompkins County voters from 1913 to 1947, not including 1914-1916, 1919, 1924, and 1937. Each of the books are divided by town (or, in the case of Ithaca, city) and ward and voting district. In addition to Democratic and Republican, in the 1920s some voters registered as Socialist. In addition, the books reflect the names of voters who were eligible to enroll and either refused, or left their space blank. In some volumes the Board of Elections also includes the total votes for a given election from each ward., showing the percentage of voting population.