Someone else fired a shot, hitting Kyle in the arm. A man carrying a musket rushed at him. Another threw a brick, knocking him off his feet. George Kyle picked himself up and ran. He never did cast his vote. Nor did his brother, who died of his wounds. The Democratic candidate for Congress, William Harrison, lost to the American Party’s Henry Winter Davis. Three months later, when the House of Representatives convened hearings into the election, whose result Harrison contested, Davis’s victory was upheld on the ground that any “man of ordinary courage” could have made his way to the polls. . . .
Voters got their ballots either from a partisan, at the polls, or at home, by cutting them out of the newspaper. Then they had to cross through the throngs to climb a platform placed against the wall of a building (voters weren’t allowed inside) and pass their ballots through a window and into the hands of an election judge. This was no mean feat, and not only in Baltimore. In the middle decades of the nineteenth century, eighty-nine Americans were killed at the polls during Election Day riots.
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