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The Old New Jersey Way of Counting Ballots

By       Message Bev Conover     Permalink
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Yes, there was plenty of corruption -- Jersey City's Mayor Frank "I Am the Law" Hague habitually had ballot boxes tossed in the Hudson River.
But there is nothing fail-safe in this world and while a town's or legislative district's election could be (and was stolen), it was nigh unto impossible to steal the whole state.

The way it worked in NJ, where we still had paper ballots, was the party committee members each chose one precinct worker, so you had the precinct board comprised of 2 Dems and 2 Repubs, who among them chose their captain. It was a 13-hour day with one hour off for dinner, but only one worker at a time left to eat. Two workers handled the
registration books; a third handed out the ballots, and the fourth guarded the ballot boxes and tore off the number at the top of each ballot and strung it on a string.

When it came time to count the ballots, the public could witness the counting. If party challengers were present, they also kept tally with the precinct workers. One worker opened the ballot box, unfolded the ballot and handed it to a second who read aloud the votes, the third and fourth workers marked tally sheets. When they finished the count, each signed the tally sheets and locked them in the ballot box(es) with the ballots and the strung ballot numbers. They then would call in the result to the county clerk. One Dem and one Repub then took the ballot boxes and registration books to the county clerk's office.

Personally, since Americans may be opposed to voting on Sundays, I would like to see election days holidays. And if we ever get beyond two parties, why not have election workers from them all?

I have been fighting for a return to hand-counted paper ballots for nearly 6 years.

Bev Conover
Editor & Publisher
Online Journal ™


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Bev Conover is the editor and publisher of Online Journal.

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The Old New Jersey Way of Counting Ballots