Remembering the Past: Election Day Memories

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By Diane Norek Harrison

Memories from William Frolich: “Voting back in the old days before voting machines became popular was quite a bit different then what it is today.

“At the general election in November, when it was your turn to vote you signed up much like today, but then you were handed a long paper ballot that contained the names of all the candidates for that ward and district’s positions. You then stepped inside curtained voting booth and placed a mark in each little box for each candidate of your choice. Many loyal party members chose to vote a ‘straight ballot’ for their party, and for that purpose there was a larger box at the top of the ballot. A mark in this box indicated a vote for every one of that party’s candidates on the ballot.

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“After the ballot was marked, the voter folded it and stepped out from the booth and slipped the ballot through the slot in the top of the ballot box. The voter’s work was then completed.

“The ballot box then in use was a large cubical item with rippled, tinted glass sides, with chicken wire embedded in the glass. It wasn’t possible to see the markings thus maintaining the secrecy of the vote.”


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