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  • The Acme Ballot Box was another effort to prevent voter fraud.  Invented around 1880 in Bridgewater Connecticut, the Acme significantly improved on the standard open-slot box.  It included a counter activated by the crank lever mechanism.  Turning the lever advanced the counter, released the ballot into the locked box, and provided poll overseers with an exact count of the number ballots cast that they could compare to a register of voters.

    Acme Voting Machine

  • In an effort to attract attention to woman suffrage, the National Woman's Party began a silent picket of the White House on January 10, 1917, when twelve women marched with purple, white, and gold banners—the first picket line at the White House. On the first day, the protesters went to the White House carrying pickets, and they continued their stand regardless of weather for the next six months, with special days scheduled for picketing by college women, wage-earners, and representatives from various states, occupations, and professional affiliations. More than 1,000 women participated in a rainy "Grand Picket" on March 4 at the presidential inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, who drove through the picket line without acknowledging them. The protest proved to be an embarrassment for the nation at a time when America was fighting abroad to defend freedom and democracy but could not promise the same principles at home. Note that the banner directly addresses the President.

    1917 National Women's Party Protest

  • How would you describe the Voting Machine?

  • In the 1890s, changes in printing technology made possible inexpensive magazines that could appeal to a broader and increasingly more literate middle-class audience. Given the reform impulses popular in the early 20th century, many of these magazines featured reform-oriented investigative reporting that became known as "muckraking" (so named by President Theodore Roosevelt after the muckrake in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress who could "look no way but downward, with a muckrake in his hands"). In October 1902 McClure's Magazine published what many consider the first muckraking article, Lincoln Steffens' "Tweed Days in St. Louis." The "muckrakers" wrote on many subjects, such as child labor, prisons, religion, corporations, and insurance companies. But urban political corruption remained a particularly popular target, and in 1904 Steffens collected and published his writings on St. Louis, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York as <em>The Shame of the Cities</em>. The Introduction, below, suggested his overall conclusions about political corruption.

    Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities

  • Campaign fraud involved different ways of casting multiple ballots. "Repeaters" would cast one ballot after another at the same polling place. Some would grow beards well before the election, then shave three times to produce progressively different appearances. "Phantom voters" registered with names and addresses of people who had died, moved, or never lived at the address on file. "Floaters" would vote at several different polling places. This illustration depicts  the arrest of a "repeater" during the 1896 election between McKinley and William Jennings Bryan.

    "Arrest of a Repeater"

  • On 27 April 1961 the Rockwell Manufacturing Company donated two voting machines to the U.S. National Museum. This letter includes a description of the machines, the first of which was an adaptation of a machine from 1892.  The second item on the memo is the 1898 Standard voting machine.

    Accession Memorandum

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