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)


MainStreet Cruise-In Season Opener Is Saturday

2 Patrol Recruits Become First In New Program At Whitfield Sheriff's Office

New Hamilton County Marriage Licenses


The Mainstreet Cruise-In’s 20th season opening is this Saturday from 1-6 p.m. in historic downtown Cleveland around the Courthouse Square. The open-air event offers plenty of space for ... (click for more)

Meet Edgar Corona and Micheal McClure, two groundbreaking recruits for the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office. They’re the first recruits chosen for Sheriff Scott Chitwood’s new Deputy Training ... (click for more)

Here are the new marriage licenses from the County Clerk's office: BRANDON BIBINES MORRIS RENIKA RENA HINTON 8719 FOREST POND DR 8719 FOREST POND DR HARRISON, TN 37341 HARRISON, TN 37341 ... (click for more)



Happenings

MainStreet Cruise-In Season Opener Is Saturday

The Mainstreet Cruise-In’s 20th season opening is this Saturday from 1-6 p.m. in historic downtown Cleveland around the Courthouse Square. The open-air event offers plenty of space for social distancing while classic car enthusiasts see restored cars and other special interest vehicles as they line the streets of downtown. Last season nearly 500 vehicles a month lined the ... (click for more)

2 Patrol Recruits Become First In New Program At Whitfield Sheriff's Office

Meet Edgar Corona and Micheal McClure, two groundbreaking recruits for the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office. They’re the first recruits chosen for Sheriff Scott Chitwood’s new Deputy Training Program and left April 7 to begin 11 weeks of state-mandated training at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth. While Corona and McClure took different paths on ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Tim Kelly Sworn In At The Tivoli As New Mayor Of Chattanooga; Some Downtown Streets Briefly Close For Inaugural Parade

Tim Kelly was sworn in on Monday morning as the new mayor of Chattanooga. He said, "The goals for this week are survival. It's a six day transition, so there's going to be a lot on our plate. As I said before, we'll be putting a ballot initiative on the ballot later this year to change this so no city administration has to go through this ever again, because it's not sufficient ... (click for more)

2 Boys, 11 And 14, Shot Sunday Evening On Chandler Avenue; Another Youth Was Handling Gun And It Accidentally Went Off

Two boys, 11 and 14, were shot on Sunday evening on Chandler Avenue. Police said another youth, 14, was handling a gun that accidentally went off. He was charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. At approximately 7:28 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a report of a person shot in the 4000 block of Chandler Avenue. Upon arrival, officers located a boy, 11, ... (click for more)

Opinion

Mr. Coolidge Fought The Good Fight

The Chattanooga High School Alumni Association extends our deepest sympathy to the family of Mr. Coolidge. He was a member of the CHS Class of 1939 and a true Dynamo for life. RIP, Mr. Coolidge, you surely fought the good fight. When the Alumni Association decided to establish a CHS Hall of Fame it was also determined to create a special honor, first person chosen for the Hall ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Woke USA Is Nuts

Most of you will know that on April 13 our Centers for Disease Control and the Federal Drug Administration issued joint orders to “pause” distribution of the Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccine because immunizations of the drug were believed to cause blood clots in some women. What you may not know it that “some women” really equaled a total of six women. I am not a physician who ... (click for more)