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NCJ Number: 63787 Find in a Library
Title: HOW THE VOTE IS BOUGHT
Journal: NATIONAL CIVIC REVIEW  Volume:50  Issue:9  Dated:(OCTOBER 1961)  Pages:472-479
Author(s): ANON
Corporate Author: National Municipal League
United States of America
Date Published: 1961
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Municipal League
New York, NY 10021
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS FIRSTHAND ACCOUNT OF A POLITICAL CANDIDATES' PREELECTION ACTIVITIES DESCRIBES TRADITIONAL VOTE BUYING ACTIVITIES IN A KENTUCKY DISTRICT.
Abstract: INSTEAD OF CORRUPT POLITICIANS, IT IS CITIZENS EAGER TO SELL THEIR VOTES, WHO APPEAR AS THE CULPRITS IN THE ETHICALLY DUBIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED. THE CANDIDATE WAS PERSONALLY CONTACTED BY MEMBERS OF HIS CONSTITUENCY WHO OFFERED THEIR SERVICES ON HIS BEHALF FOR A SMALL CASH FEE. THE PRETENSE INVOLVED WAS THAT OF HIRING PRECINCT WORKERS, OFTEN WOMEN OR DISABLED OR UNEMPLOYED MEN, WHO WOULD BLACKMAIL THE CANDIDATE BY PROMISING TO DELIVER THE VOTES OF SIZABLE EXTENDED FAMILIES TO EITHER CANDIDATE, DEPENDING ON THE FEE OBTAINED. IN ADDITION, DONATIONS WERE SOLICITED BY NUMEROUS LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS SEEKING TANGIBLE ASSURANCE THAT THE CANDIDATE WAS IN SYMPATHY WITH THEIR PARTICULAR CAUSE, AND THEREFORE WORTHY OF THEIR VOTE. CAMPAIGN STRATEGIES WERE CALCULATED WITH THESE PRACTICES IN MIND, AND LARGE CASH SUMS WERE SPECIFICALLY DIVIDED BETWEEN THE VARIOUS INTEREST AND RACIAL GROUPS OF THE CONSTITUENCY TO INSURE LAST-MINUTE LOYALTIES, OFTEN LIBERALLY LACED WITH ALCOHOLIC GIFTS AS WELL. OTHER INCENTIVES INCLUDED PROMISES OF EMPLOYMENT OR SPECIAL CONSIDERATION FOR PROMPT ENTRY ONTO THE WELFARE ROLLS. TRANSPORTING VOTERS TO THE POLLS WAS FREQUENTLY DONE AT THE CANDIDATE'S EXPENSE. MOREOVER, THESE ACTIVITIES WERE NOT DIRECTED SOLELY AT THE PARTY ORGANIZATIONS, THEIR CANDIDATES AND CONTRIBUTORS, BUT A MASSIVE ASSAULT WAS OFFICIALLY MADE ON THE STATE TREASURY AS WELL. THE PEOPLE WERE TO VOTE FOR AN AMENDMENT TO THE STATE CONSTITUTION PROVIDING CASH BONUSES OF UP TO $500 TO VETERANS OF ALL WARS BETWEEN THE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR AND THE KOREAN WAR, APPLICABLE TO THEIR HEIRS AND NEXT OF KIN. THE BONUS GRAB WAS OVERWHELMINGLY SUCCESSFUL AT THE POLLS, DESPITE THE INADEQUACY OF THE STATE'S EDUCATION BUDGET. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (MRK)
Index Term(s): Corruption of public officials; Kentucky; Local government; Public Attitudes/Opinion; State government; Unlawful compensation
Note: REPRINT FROM HARPER'S MAGAZINE
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