During the early years of Oklahoma Farm Bureau, the number of voters nationwide was a concern. OKFB reported that only 51 percent of eligible voters went to the polls in the 1948 presidential election. The American Farm Bureau Federation suggested the use of educational programs and contests to increase the number of voters, particularly in rural areas.
In June 1952, OKFB members implemented a new creative plan to advocate for more voter awareness. OKFB’s Votemobile, a truck with sound reinforcement equipment installed, toured the state, spotlighting registration dates and the importance of voting.
The Votemobile attracted nationwide attention after its official launch on the south steps of the state Capitol on May 26, where approximately 500 people gathered to watch the ceremony. Governor Johnston Murray closed the ceremony by calling on all Oklahomans to make themselves eligible to vote and to go to the polls in all elections.
“In the critical months before the fall of France, the people stayed away from the polls, thinking that in this way they would register their dislike of their government,” Governor Murray said. “But the communist did not fail to vote, and got a strong voice in government as a result. That must not happen in America.”
After the ceremony had ended, Governor Murray officially launched the campaign by pushing the red, white and blue vehicle a few feet. The event received media attention from WKY-TV as well as most state radio stations and newspapers.
The vehicle was driven by Buck Garvin, the southeast district insurance fieldman, with the help of Leon Moore, a student at Northeastern State College at Tahlequah.