Jerry Summers: Chattanooga Elections - "Rolling The Vote"

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - by Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

The above term has both national and local implications but generally means efforts of candidates and/or their supporters to get the individual voters to the polls on Election Day.

            In years past (and today) candidates would hire vans to transport their prospective voters from nursing homes and individual residences to increase their support.  Unfortunately, sometimes the driver of the vans would take money from more than one candidate and, although they would initially transport voters early in the morning, the vans would sometimes not be able to transport voters all day due to alleged vehicle problems or lack of gas by deliberate design and would wind up parked by the side of the road for a while before picking up additional prospective voters for another candidate.

            One of the favorite tactics used in city of Chattanooga elections was the use of the “chain ballots.”

            In the days before liquor by the drink became legal on January 1, 1973, there were establishments in the city of Chattanooga known as “good time” houses where either legal or moonshine shots were available.

            In the areas known as “controlled wards” a copy of the legitimate ballot was somehow obtained in advance.

            Thirsty voters would assemble at one of the houses where they would be given a filled-in ballot with the names of the preferred slate of candidates by the political bosses.

            The next step would be to transport the prospective voters to the polling place where they would be given a blank ballot by the precinct election officials.

            The voters would then enter the privacy curtain and pretend to fill out the ballot while placing the blank one in their pocket.  They would then deposit the previously filled in ballot in the voting box.

            The last step in this exercise in Democracy would be for the voter to be transported back to the “good time” house where they would be rewarded for their participation in the American electoral process with an alcoholic drink after turning in the blank ballots to the party in charge of disbursing the liquid refreshment.

            No wonder that some citizens used to refer to Chattanooga as “Little Chicago!”

* * *

Jerry Summers

(If you have additional information about one of Mr. Summers' articles or have suggestions or ideas about a future Chattanooga area historical piece, please contact Mr. Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com)


Detective Guay Uses High-Tech Skills To Help Solve Crimes

Weekly Road Construction Report

National Coalition Of 100 Black Women Presents Black Pioneer Women Of Excellence Award Honorees


Solving crimes in a high-tech world sometimes requires more than old-school police work. Detective Chris Guay of the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office uses his extensive knowledge of cell ... (click for more)

Here is the weekly road construction report for District 29: BRADLEY COUNTY SR-2 (S. LEE HWY.) Utility Work northbound from LM 8.21 to LM 8.44: Lane closures between Grove Ave NW and Harrison ... (click for more)

The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Chattanooga Chapter, Inc. will present one of its signature programs and events, the Black Pioneer Women of Excellence Award Ceremony, on Saturday at ... (click for more)



Happenings

Detective Guay Uses High-Tech Skills To Help Solve Crimes

Solving crimes in a high-tech world sometimes requires more than old-school police work. Detective Chris Guay of the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office uses his extensive knowledge of cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices that often hold data that ultimately helps solve many cases. “As an analyst, Detective Guay’s skills shine the brightest. He has been instrumental ... (click for more)

Weekly Road Construction Report

Here is the weekly road construction report for District 29: BRADLEY COUNTY SR-2 (S. LEE HWY.) Utility Work northbound from LM 8.21 to LM 8.44: Lane closures between Grove Ave NW and Harrison Pike. Signage, flaggers, and cones will be present. Motorists should use caution through the area and be aware of personnel and equipment for nighttime and daytime work between 8 PM and ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Chattanooga Man Charged With Almost 50 Counts Of Aggravated Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor

A Chattanooga man suspected of using Facebook and Snapchat to sexually exploit minors from around the country is now facing almost 50 counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. Chattanooga police began investigating Cadairyian Watt, 25, after being sent a sexual exploitation case from a deputy in New York. Police said he used a Facebook and Snapchat profile using a ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Schools Announce New Principals

As the district looks to the 2021-2022 school year, Hamilton County Schools announced several personnel updates Thursday, including new principals. Crystal Sorrells has been named the principal at Brainerd High School. She previously served as principal of East Ridge High School and was named 2021 Principal of the Year for Hamilton County Schools. Ms. Sorrells, a Brainerd ... (click for more)

Opinion

Aftermath Of The "George Floyd" Trial - And Response

It is not by mistake that African Americans saw it as Mr. Floyd being on trial - having to prove himself worthy of fairness - even beyond the grave. The death of injustice in America, from the first arrival of enslaved blacks from the motherland Africa, has always been the dream and prayer of the black man. It not only impacts black men, it also wrecks havoc on the black family ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Two Differing Views

For many reasons, I am infatuated with Constitutional law and, therefore, I was absorbed with the abject unfairness of the Derek Chauvin trial we just watched unfold in Minneapolis, Minn. Understand, my concern has nothing to do with the verdict. Instead, I am drawn to the nationwide circus that accompanied the outcome and how is it possible for the courtroom to be void of all emotion ... (click for more)