October 10, 2008

Doomed to repeat history?

Please note: This post is not an attack or support of any of today’s political parties. Thank you.

“Bunny” Goddard, A cousin of mine sent me the following email reminding me of the importance of voting in the upcoming election.

Fact:
People are being bussed in for early voting.
There are long lines and heavy interest, but it will probably be worse on Nov. 4th.

Rumor:
Campaign workers have gone into prisons, found inmates not convicted of felonies, registered them to vote, and sent them absentee ballots.

This may be the most important election you've ever been invited to participate in -- for our country, our state, and our local areas.

PLEASE VOTE!

Her content paralleled and shocked me as it immediately reminded me of the Denver, Colorado fraudulent election trials of 1889.

Soapy Smith, Bat Masterson, and a host of others were involved in numerous activities that were to guarantee the appointment for Republican candidates during the mayoral election of 1889. These activities included the same type of vote getting work being performed in “Bunny’s” email, but crossed the legal parameters by bringing in “voters” from other cities, registration fraud, vote casting fraud, registering deceased persons and using their votes and even switching votes in the ballot box.

On election day in Denver men were paid $2 to visit one of several saloons, including Soapy’s Tivoli Club, and were given a slip of paper with a name from which to vote under. The idea was that each criminal voter would be able to cast two votes, one under their real identity and one using the name on the slip of paper. One of several problems emerged when greedy “voters” kept returning to the saloons to collect the $2 and vote under fraudulent names. Another problem arose when honest citizens went to vote only to find that their polling place had already accounted for their vote. Fights and arrests broke out all over the city as corrupt police officers and gangsters working side-by-side tried to protect the poll booth fraud from being discovered.

Soapy and Bat Masterson had taken control of one district polling booth early in the morning of election day. They boarded up the place leaving only a small slot in the wood from which voters could slide in their ballot. Once inside the booth the ballot would be opened and swapped if it did not meet their approval.

Surprised to learn that the election was a landslide? No? How about that it took two years to bring it to trial? I could not help but be reminded of that old saying, Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905.

Jeff Smith

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