Deo Vindice! Kevin Carroll/PS: are you a deer in the headlights?
By Kenneth Bachand
A friend of mine recently wrote, "God knows voter fraud, gross negligence, voter requirement in only a handful of states is what got him [Obama] elected the second time. The first time was gross negligence on the part of the media and the general public's ignorance and complacency in making a choice for what they thought he symbolized over character, background lacking transparency. All we had to do was listen to what barak and michelle's speeches conveyed before he was elected. …the breakdown in the fiber of our population didn't occur overnight!"
Read all that follows and then think of how in the recent national elections in some precincts there were more votes cast than there were registered voters and how ironic it is that the government in Washington pulls out all the stops to prevent the states from requiring voters to show personal identification.
Bayonets Secure the Ballot Box in the 1860s
Excerpts from Lincoln and the War Governors, William B. Hesseltine, Alfred A. Knopf, 1955
In the meantime Maryland's unionists held a convention and nominated Augustus Williamson Bradford for governor. The candidate was an old-line Whig who had retired from active politics when Henry Clay was defeated in 1844, and who had been clerk of the Baltimore County court for many years. He had emerged as a unionist at the peace conference in Willard's Hall,where he made a strong pro-union speech. Personally honest, making up in dignity what he lacked in distinction, Bradford was too moderate for many Maryland radicals. Their support, however, was hardly necessary for his election.
The federal troops decided the Maryland election. Maryland soldiers received a three-day furlough to go home to vote, and when unionists feared that this would not be enough to turn the scale, General Dix ordered the provost marshals to arrest any disunionists or Southern sympathizers. On election day the soldiers guarded the polls, arresting known Democrats and intimidating others. Bradford won by a majority of 31,438 over General Benjamin H. Howard, his Democratic opponent.
Lincoln came to realize that only military force would keep them [the boarder states] in line. In Maryland and Kentucky the military authorities ruled the states, and during the summer of 1862 they fastened their grip upon the political machinery. Maryland's Governor and legislature, elected in 1861 by federal bayonets, gave no trouble, and gradually the state's judiciary was stopped from independent pronouncements. In May, one Judge Carmichael, sitting in court at Easton, was literally dragged from the bench by a provost marshal and a body of soldiers. The judge, at a previous session, had instructed a grand jury to inquire into the processes of the recent election. He was confined in federal military prisons for six months and released without any formal charges being preferred against him. A month later Judge James L. Bastol of the Court of Appeals spent several days in jail without explanation from his military jailers. The two arrests, supplemented by frequent excursions of provost marshals against disgruntled citizens, effectively prevented the expression of opposition sentiment in Maryland.
In these same local elections, as [New York governor] Seymour's challenge to national concentration declined, Lincoln's leadership received a new and emphatic demonstration in Maryland. Just on election eve Ex-Governor Hicks, now in the United States Senate and co-operating with the radicals, advised General Robert Schenck, in charge of the area, to place restrictions on disloyal voters in the state. At least, Hicks suggested, voters should be forced to take a stringent oath. Hearing that troops were being sent to Maryland to administer test oaths, Governor Bradford protested to Lincoln. But General Schenck, who had defeated Vallandigham in the congressional elections the year before and would soon take his seat in the House of Representatives, was as violent a radical as Burnside. He promptly ordered provost marshals to take troops to the polls, prevent disorder, and administer oaths to suspected Democrats. Bradford protested to Lincoln and issued a proclamation rescinding Schenck's orders. The general forbade the telegraph companies to transmit the Governor's order.
Lincoln replied to Bradford with a reminder that the Governor had himself been elected with federal bayonets the year before. Moreover, said the President, it was not enough that the candidates should be true men. "In this struggle for the nation's life" it was necessary that loyal men should have been elected only by loyal voters. Schenck himself, after consulting Stanton, told Lincoln that without military intervention "we lose this State." The President modified Schenck's orders slightly, but accepted the basic principle.
On election day the troops were at the polls. In Kent County, on the Eastern Shore, they arrested leading Democrats and scurried them across the bay. The commander issued instructions that only the candidates of the Union League convention were recognized by the federal authorities. In other places the soldiers administered oaths, arrested Democrats, and voted themselves.
The result was not alone a victory in Maryland. It was a synthesis of the political developments of the year. The military power of the federal government, aided and augmented by the organized Union Leagues and Strong Bands, could alone ensure electoral success in the more important Northern states. It did not need a repetition of the Maryland episode in Delaware's special congressional election, a week later, to emphasize the lesson.
On that same day the need for Lincoln's aid was illustrated in Pennsylvania. There it was not thought necessary to send the soldiers home. Early in the summer the legislature had provided for voting in the field. Under the law the Democratic minority had no rights, but Curtin, disgusted with the situation generally, determined to appoint some Democratic commissioners to collect the soldiers' votes. As the commissioners passed through Washington, however, the Democrats among them disappeared, under Stanton's orders, into the Old Capitol Prison.
Already, before the October elections, Yates, too, had seen the need for having soldiers go home to vote. Stanton told an Illinois visitor that the state's soldiers in hospitals would be given furloughs, and Yates began compiling lists. But the sick were not enough. When a major asked to take a regiment home, ostensibly for recruiting but really to "conquer a peace with their bullets," the Governor applied to the War Department. From Egypt [southern Illinois], Yates had word that the soldiers would be needed, and political workers came with assurances that only the soldiers could carry many localities. Finally the Governor appealed to Lincoln to send troops to vote. It was essential to elect a loyal state Senate, three congressional districts depended on the soldiers, and even the Presidential and the state tickets were unsafe without the uniformed voters. Defeat in Illinois, added the Governor, would be worse than defeat in the field. Under such pleas the soldiers came, and Lincoln carried his home state by 189,496 to McClellan's 158,730.
The soldiers' vote was crucial in many other states. New York allowed its soldiers to vote in the field, and each party sent three commissioners to Grant's armies. The Democratic commissioners, however, landed in Washington's Old Capitol Prison, where they remained until January. Moreover, the Democrats charged, many soldiers voted Democratic in their camps only to have their ballots switched in the post offices. The Democrats diligently dug up several sick soldiers who, having voted earlier in the hospitals, got home in time to vote — and found Republican ballots in their envelopes." In addition, on the eve of the election, troops arrived on furlough from the Eastern armies. Even with this aid the vote was close. Seymour polled 54,000 more votes than he had got in 1862. The Republican vote, however, had swollen even more enormously, and Lincoln polled 368,000 to McClellan's 362,000. Without the soldiers New York would have remained in the Democratic column.
Maryland's vote was clearly the product of federal bayonets. In October the citizens of Maryland voted on a new constitution, providing for emancipation and bearing a drastic proscription of Democrats. Although General Lew Wallace took control of the polls in Baltimore, the voters rejected the constitution by a majority of 2,000. But the proposed constitution had given votes to soldiers in the field, and 2,294 soldiers voted for it, and only 76 against. It took ten days to count the votes, but on October 29 Governor Bradford proclaimed the constitution in effect. This fortunate result came just in time for the November elections. On election day General Wallace again guarded the ballot boxes, and Baltimore cast nearly 15,000 votes for Lincoln to less than 3,000 for McClellan. The soldiers in the field completed the work, and Maryland gave Lincoln a majority of 7,000 in a total vote of 7o,000.
Ohio's soldiers voted in the field, and the votes were sent home to be counted. But it was difficult indeed for soldiers to vote for Ohio's [Democratic] general. There were not enough Democratic ballots to go round in the camps, and the soldiers who wished to vote for McClellan must either clip a sample ballot from a newspaper or laboriously transcribe, often with a borrowed pencil, the names of the Democratic electors. Those who failed to copy the list correctly had their votes declared invalid by the officers who supervised the voting in the field. It did not matter a great deal, however. Many of the packages containing the soldiers' votes were never opened. Ohio was safe for Lincoln, and the election clerks at home merely guessed at the distribution of the army's vote.
Before the end, there came one other change in the list of governors. On March 1, 1865, William Cannon, whom federal bayonets had raised to Delaware's governorship, died suddenly. His successor was Gove Salisbury, a physician who had been speaker of the Delaware Senate, and a vigorous personality who might, had it not already been too late, have struck still further blows for states' rights. His accession restored Delaware to the Democratic column.
No such crude tactics are necessary to control the outcome of an election today, for there's a much cleaner and far less obvious way to do it. The technology of computer science makes it possible to program a computer voting machine to produce the desired result regardless of whatever information is put into it.