These days vote tallying is a matter of bits, bytes and pixels, but in the 19th century (and much of the 20th) vote counts were noted in a series of carefully drawn tick marks in official poll tally forms, like this local example from 1887.
Because public records like this one must be maintained by law, smaller communities like Miami Township might have a hard time preserving them, but there are official regional archives approved to collect and maintain such documents. Wright State University Library is the approved archive for our region, and the Miami Township public records found in storage have now been turned over, and once the collection has been processed, it will be available for research.
Because small local governments have little or no staff to devote to historic records maintenance it is possible that volumes or single documents may have “wandered off,” and anyone who frequents estate auctions, flea markets or online sources like eBay may run across a volume or booklet, raising the thorny question of how to retrieve them to make sure they get included the archival collection. It’s unlikely that a local government agency has the budget elastic enough to pay the vendor. Should one contact the local government staff or the regional archive staff? Greene County for several years now has had its own official and professionally maintained records archive and may be a good source of advice. [Additional comment from retired archivist Gillian Hill: “…public records remain public records and should not be sold. They belong to the public at large. If someone holds a public record, he or she should contact the State Archives, Local Government Department at the Ohio History Connection in Columbus for the appropriate local government records repository to send it. (And certainly, the Greene County Archives on Ledbetter Road in Xenia could also advise.)”]
Also, please observe that all of the records sampled for this blog so far are done in cursive handwriting (often quite beautifully!). If cursive is no longer taught as regular part of elementary education, who will be able to read them in the next decades? Will cursive handwriting be relegated to a required course for a public history major at college or post-graduate level?