On May 7, 1988, while George H. W. Bush, Michael Dukakis and Jesse Jackson were busy bringing their messages to America's adult voters, Sesame Place gave young visitors a taste of presidential campaigning with the 1988 Sesame Place Presidential Election.
Visitors of Sesame Place got their first taste of the elective process as they used real voting machines, loaned by the city of Philadelphia, to cast their vote for one of seven famous Sesame Street Muppet characters as "President". The park was covered in campaign signs (each with unique character campaign slogans) and the walk-around characters were out shaking hands and campaigning with the young voters all day.
Bucks County House of Representives member Peter Kostmayer served as elections commissioner and led a rally to introduce the Sesame Place candidates at the start of the day. The slate included Big Bird, Cookie Monster, The Honkers, Bert, Ernie, Prairie Dawn and Grover.
In addressing the young children who attended the rally, Kostmayer said:
“1988 is an election year, and in November your parents will vote for a new president of the United States, as well as members of local, state and federal government. This is your chance to vote for your favorite Muppet character for president of Sesame Place.”
Canidates & Slogans
- Big Bird -- "Birds of a feather flock together"
- Cookie Monster -- "A Cookie in Every Cookie Jar"
- The Honkers -- "Honk if You Like the Honkers"
- Bert -- "Bottle Cap Collectors Unite"
- Ernie -- "Rubber Duckie says Vote for Ernie"
- Grover -- "Vote Grover for a Super President"
- Prairie Dawn -- "First Female President"
Visitors were notified of the winner at the end of the day. The new president was Big Bird, who attracted 24% of the total votes.