among the 600 canvassers, the ten consultants and two count directors, maybe even a Communist would be elected!
Pete and six of his representatives walked in before 9 A.M. Wearing their large celluloid identification badges, they carefully examined the roped-off drill floor, the huge tables at which the canvassers were to work and the many bins in which the 802,792 paper ballots were to be lodged during the successive counts. A large illuminated blackboard, dominating one end of the floor, would show the candidates' standing after each count.
After preliminary instructions from the count directors, the canvassers took their places at the tables. The canvassers, all Democrats or Republicans, had qualified by passing a noncompetitive examination conducted by the Municipal Civil Service Commission. Pete made the rounds, greeting old acquaintances among the major party politicians and introducing himself to the canvassers, count officials, reporters and even the police who were on twenty-four hour guard. Most of the canvassers warmed up to the broadly smiling Pete; some viewed him as a likely victor. Pete and his associates made it clear that they expected a fair count. In any event they would be on hand, trying to watch every step of the process; in fact, they haunted the armory for the next three weeks.
The first-choice count began slowly but soon speeded up as canvassers became more expert in handling the long ballots. After two days of steadily mounting tension the first-choice ballots were announced. Pete, with 30,237 first-choice votes, was in fifth place, just behind two Democrats and two Laborites. With a total of nine to be elected from Brooklyn, things looked good, but by no means sure, as Pete continually told his campaign workers, a reminder that was to prove prophetic.
Pete's first-choice total made news, not least of all in the borough's leading newspaper, the Brooklyn Eagle, which had been hostile to PR from the beginning. Nor was the total Communist first-choice vote overlooked ( Israel Amter of Manhattan, 18,325; Isidore Begun in the Bronx, 20,946; and Paul Crosbie in Queens, 4,609). More than 74,000 New York voters in four boroughs had given their first-choice votes to Communists, but it was Brooklyn where the breakthrough was possible and it was on shabby Marcy Avenue that main attention focused.
On the thirtieth count, about midway in the tally, Pete had slipped a bit. He was in sixth place but still well up with the leaders, ahead of three machine Democrats, all the Republicans in the race, one Laborite and a City Fusion candidate. What happened between that count and the