Paul Bjorneby celebrates 91 years with a trip to the pollsPaul Bjorneby celebrated his 91st birthday Tuesday the same way he did his 21st — by voting on Election Day.
By: Ann Bailey , Forum Communications Co.
GRAND FORKS - Paul Bjorneby celebrated his 91st birthday Tuesday the same way he did his 21st — by voting on Election Day.
Bjorneby, Grand Forks, voted for the first time in 1940, marking his ballot for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He recalls piling into a Model A car with his grandparents and sister and traveling 8 miles through snow and rain to get to the rural township hall near Edinburg, to cast his ballot.
“I voted for FDR the first time because he was my people,” Bjorenby said. The Democratic NPL was the party of the working man, he explained.
“We didn’t have money. Nobody had money at that time.” Though economic times eventually got better, Bjorneby continued to do manual labor, working as a farmer and a welder.
Over the years, he has voted in every presidential election since 1940, except for one. That was 1956, the year C. Estes Kefauver was Adalai Stevenson’s running mate. Faced with re-electing President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, for a second term or casting his ballot for a Democratic ticket that included someone with a name like C. Estes Kefauver, Bjoreby chose not to vote.
At 12:05 p.m. Tuesday, Bjorneby was the 267th person in Ward 6, Precinct 1 to vote at Valley 4000 in southwest Grand Forks.
Throughout the years, he has continued the voting tradition he started with his first trip to the polls.
“I couldn’t see having an “R” in front of my name, so I voted Democrat all my life.” Bjorneby said.
Bailey is a reporter for The Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.