At the close of my blog post yesterday I noted that American democracy is by design a living, breathing work-in-progress, and that there were likely to be more electoral milestones ahead. Yesterday’s elections certainly didn’t disappoint in terms of “firsts,” so I thought I’d add a few new highlights to the timeline now that most of the votes have been counted across the country.

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The Empire State Building in lights as polls began to close.

November 6, 2012:
Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts were elected to the U.S. Senate. Returned to office were all six incumbent female Senators up for reelection (Maria Cantwell of Washington, Dianne Feinstein of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. That means that the 113th Congress will have 20 women in the Senate, the most in U.S. history.

November 6, 2012:
Mazie Hirono of Hawaii became the first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

November 6, 2012:
Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin became the first openly gay or lesbian person elected to the U.S. Senate.

November 6, 2012:
New Hampshire because the first State in history to elect an all-women Congressional delegation, with Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster elected to the House, and Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen remaining in the Senate. New Hampshire also elected Maggie Hassan to be Governor. Back in 1999 New Hampshire became the first State ever to have women heading the executive branch and both houses of the legislature. In 2009 it became the first State with a female majority in a legislative chamber (in this case, its senate).

November 6, 2012:
For the first time in history same-sex marriage was established by popular vote when relevant ballot propositions passed in Maine, Maryland, and Washington State. Also, voters in Minnesota defeated a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage.

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Watching the returns.

As usual, there were also a variety of developments of interest to historians and trivia buffs. For example, President Obama’s reelection (after those of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush) marked only the second time in American history that someone became the third President in a row to be elected to a second consecutive term. The last time there were three reelected Presidents in row was almost two centuries ago when Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe each served two terms.

The social media gurus among you will likely already know that the President’s “4 more years” tweet on election night broke the record for the most widespread social networking message in history, with almost 775,000 retweets (thus far) and 272,000 favorites. The same message on the President’s Facebook page racked up a record 4 million likes (and counting). Election day itself saw 32 million tweets, including 23 million after the first poll closed, which I’m told is a record. Twitter estimates that election-related volume averaged 13,000 tweets per minute.

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However you might have voted on the various races and questions posed on the ballot in your district, thank you for taking an ownership interest in the future of our Nation. As President Harry S. Truman said, “It’s not the hand that signs the laws that holds the destiny of America. It’s the hand that casts the ballot.”