Blast from the Past - Ballot-box stuffing is ancient art

A reader sent in this newspaper quote drawn from a doctoral thesis entitled "The San Francisco Bulletin, 1855-1865: A Study in the Beginnings of Pacific Coast Journalism." The dissertation was written by John Denton Carter and he submitted it to the History Dept. of the University of California in 1941.

What the People Expect of the Vigilance Committee.*

There is another work before the Committee, more important than any which has hitherto engaged their attention. It is the purification of the ballot box. If we would have order hereafter, an example must now be made of the ballot-box stuffers. If there is anyone in the custody of the Committee, on whom ballot-box stuffing can be clearly proved, his punishment should be exemplary. We are not ignorant of the weight of the words we utter. Tampering with elections is in fact the most heinous of crimes. "An example must be made. Hang one ballot-box stuffer, and we shall have no more of them."

SF Call-Bulletin, May 29,1856

* Over a delicious decade, the San Francisco Vigilance Committee tried, convicted and hanged gamblers, grifters, grafters and thieving City supes. One of the supes was executed for cold-bloodedly murdering John King of William, the editor & publisher of San Francisco's first anti-corruption newsletter.

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