Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Election Hijinx in Vallejo, 1869

Voter suppression? Stuffing the ballot box? Election fraud? Nothing new in America, or in Vallejo. Here's how the Vallejo Evening Chronicle described it on October 20, 1869: 

"The Judicial election to-day is passing off very quietly, very little general interest being manifested, and the poll will be light. Some difficulty was experienced this morning in getting the polls opened, as it was not understood that the law required them to be held at the place announced in the election proclamation. However, E.T. Starr, at some trouble to his business, gave the Election Board the use of a part of his store, and the trouble was then surmounted. An eager 'constituent' caused some consternation after voting had commenced, by rushing up and shoving his ballot into the box, without awaiting the usual formalities. On searching, his name was not found on the poll list, but his vote was in the box, and beyond recall, which results in the 'Jimocracy' being ahead beyond a possibility of redemption one vote certain. Kidder, announced for Justice of the Peace for Vallejo Township, has withdrawn, leaving the field occupied by but two candidates - both Republican. The number of names enrolled on the poll list is 1,494, But the vote will not probably be over half of this number."

A little clarification came the next day:

"We alluded yesterday to the incident of a man shoving his vote into the ballot box without the intervention of the Board of Election. He was not enrolled, and a vote was thrown out by agreement among the members of the Board. It appears that the irrepressible voter was not a Democrat, but a Republican, who was voting for the first time, and was entirely ignorant that there were certain formalities to be gone through to legalize his vote."