Newspaper Articles

Logan Banner
May 10, 1960

Corrupt Practices Mar Voting In Primary

Some Observers Believe Election Is Dirtiest Ever Held in County

Logan County was teeming with activity today, mostly underhanded, as bewildered voters streamed to the polls in what may go down in history as one of the most corrupt elections in the county's history.

The crisp cool weather apparently had no effect on the early morning voting at the polling places and it appeared likely that a record turnout will materialize.

The independent voters of the county made a strong showing early in the morning and are expected to swarm the polls later in the day as word of the underhanded tactics being employed spread like wildfire.

The Banner made a spot check of several precincts early this morning being employed by the two machine factions of the Democrat party. The slates revealed considerable trading of candidates in the various precincts, apparently for the purpose of strengthening the main candidates.

Vote buying also was apparent in several precincts with the payoff ranging anywhere from $2 and a drink of whiskey to $6 and two pints of whiskey for a single vote. The machine workers were doing the underhanded vote-buying for all to see.

There also were reports that poll commissioners had been changed in several precincts as a last minutes maneuver to "set up the house."

The Banner also received reports that n many precincts some voters were being helped by the "Lever Brothers." One voter said she was accompanied behind the curtain by two commissioners who pulled the levers and opened the curtain before she knew what had happened.

Not in the past 20 years has The Banner received so many reports of illegal practices at the polls. Residents in three precincts - Coal Branch, Striker in Chapmanville District, and Kistler - said that in some cases voters were refused the right to cast ballots unless they permitted poll workers to go with them inside the voting booth to see that they voted "right."

The wife of a Banner employe(e) said that when she started inside the voting booth at Coal Branch, two men went into the booth with her, even though she has not asked for help in casting her ballot. She said the two men closed the curtain pulled down the voting keys and they pulled the lever that cast her ballot and opened the curtain.

She said that she had no chance whatever to tell the men for whom she wished to vote. The calls from Kistler and Striker said that practically the same thing had occurred over and over in those precincts.

The early morning turnout appeared to be heavy despite the cool weather. A total of 104 voters had cast their ballots at Logan Junior High School at east Den before 10 a.m. and 131 had voted at Logan Central Grade School shortly -after that time.

The turnout at Stratton Hollow was surprisingly small. Only 43 had voted there shortly before 10 a.m. while 79 had voted at the courthouse. Deskins Addition had 79 by 10:30 a.m. and Central City reported that 94 had been to the polls by 10:45 a.m.

The outcome of the election remained in doubt as a result of reports that government agents are patrolling the county in an effort to curb the practice of buying voter with whiskey and money.

There were no reports of any arrests shortly before noon but informed sources expected things to start popping at any minute.

A move by the government agents would undoubtedly upset the machine tactics and open the door for the independent candidates, many of whom are expected to give their machine opponents a close race in spite of the well organized opposition.

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