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In the case of the County Democracy there is a greater show of fairness at the polls in election districts, but one can never tell who has been elected in case of a contest until the matter has been submitted to a committee on contested seats, and then the overwhelming strength and startling regularity of the leader's friends are always demonstrated. A point of the utmost consequence is the determination of the place at which the primary is to be held, and the place being named by the district leader, the voting is usually done at that liquor store, cigar store, livery-stable, or other place where the contestant favored by the leader can best control the house, its exits and entrances, and can most easily and speedily gather his voters together. As a consequence, nothing is more eagerly sought for, where it is apparent that there is to be a closely contested primary, than the determination of the place for holding it.
The following very instructive table has been prepared by Mr. Robert Graham, of New York, showing how many of the primary and convention meetings held immediately preceding the election of 1884 were held in liquor saloons or next door to them :*
* See Appendix I.
Political Meetings held in Saloon.. Political Meetings held next door to Saloon...
Political Meetings held apart from Saloons...
719 283 1,002
The apparent disproportion between the County Democracy and the other organizations in the nise of liquor saloons is due to the fact that the former has at least eight hundred and twelve primaries, one for each election district, while the latter have only twenty-four each, or one for each Assembly District. Where eight hundred and twelve primaries are to be held the number of voters to be accommodated at each is naturally small, and inexpensive places have to be found. To the local politician the public-house thus presents superior attractions from whatever point of view it may be regarded.
Chief among all the benefits accruing to the party through such an organization as has been described is the control of the election booths and ballots. According to long - established custom, each party must have a ticket booth for each polling-place in the city, attached to which booth there are a number of paid ticket peddlers, who receive five dollars each on the average for their day's work at the polls. All tickets, folded, bunched, and bagged, are originally distributed from headquarters to the twenty-four Assembly District leaders, and they in their turn carry the
distribution down into election districts. This enables them to control the situation so far as their localities are concerned, for they can unbunch any candidate they like, and bunch any other they wish, and there are districts in which all the chances are in favor of the bunch being voted as made up. In their turn the election district peddlers at the polls can do the same thing in a small way upon the day of election, and cut and trade as they prefer or as they are directed. Upon occasion this sort of business is done by the bosses themselves, as in the Mayoral election of 1882, when the Republican machinists sent out from headqnarters the tickets of the Tammany candidate for Mayor in place of those of their own nominee. There are some districts in the city where this ability to handle the tickets has been worth a year's income to the local leaders.
These are but a few of the details of political organization in the city of New York, and the statements, necessarily general, are every one of them susceptible of rich illustration.
It is no wonder that honest citizens can never get control of the Machine from within, and can rarely successfully fight it from without, for in either event
they must devote so much time to it that they have not enough left to earn a living. The Machine is governed by a singleness of purpose, which produces a compactness against which good citizens can only break themselves to pieces when fighting it from within, while if they organize an outside opposition in which everything is done by honest discussion, compactness is almost impossible of achievement. The single matter of properly manning the polls requires the action of at least several thousand picked and loyal men, who should stand at the booths from principle and not for money, and to be sure of such a body requires little less than a revolution in public feeling. Those who do this work for their parties are either office - holders or paid peddlers, and in either case are only earning their living. The politicians would not be difficult to beat if the people would organize for their own protection and from principle; but it is the matter of organization which is difficult, and no one understands this better than the bosses.
But the Machines have other immense advantages. Not only does our army of policemen contribute to the election expenses of the several Ma