by SCOTT JORDAN
Manufactured by the Automatic Voting Machine Corps, this sample voting machine is currently on display at the LBJ Museum of San Marcos. It is representative of the mechanical procedure by which the ordinary American participated in the democratic process, at a time when Johnson himself was a young voter. The artifact is very heavy for its size (about 12” x 14” x 1”), and is quite possibly made of solid steel.
According to the instructions on the upper-left part of the machine, one moves the large handle in the middle to the right, leaving it there, after which the voter chooses “yes” or “no” for each of the public issues and chooses his or her candidate by turning each of the smaller levers (seen in rows in the picture above). The final action is to turn the large handle back to the left, from which the selections are counted. One may also vote the straight-party ticket by turning one of the two large handles on the left side. Voting split ticket is a somewhat complicated affair.
If anyone has information they would like to share about this particular artifact, or the historical and social context in which similar machines were used, please email Scott Jordan, Museum Director, at email@example.com.
If anyone owns an artifact related to Texas politics or elections during the early 20th century and would like to donate it to the museum, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at (512) 353-3300, or write to Scott Jordan, LBJ Museum of San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas, 78667.
We are located at 131 N. Guadalupe Street, in downtown San Marcos. Open Hours: Thurs, Fri, and Sun, 1pm – 5 pm; and Sat, 10am – 5pm. Admission is free. Web site: www.lbjmuseum.com