US has long history of rigged elections

By Brian Williams
February 1, 2021

Liberal media and Democrats sneer at claims of chicanery in the 2020 elections. But stealing the vote and rigging elections is not new in U.S. capitalist politics. The Democrats often led the way over the decades.

In the 1960 presidential election Democrat John F. Kennedy defeated Republican Richard Nixon by the narrowest of margins. Vote stuffing by the Democratic Party machine in Chicago led by Mayor Richard Daley gave Kennedy the victory.

Kennedy beat Nixon by 9,000 votes in Illinois by capturing a suspiciously high 450,000 advantage in Cook County, which covers Chicago. How was this done? It included cornering the graveyard vote; promising individuals money, a warm meal or a drink if they’d vote for the “right” person; and precinct captains marking up ballots for people to turn in. This was widely known, and described in detail by retired journalist Bob Crawford, who covered Chicago politics for decades for WBBM radio, in a 2016 interview.

“There was a cemetery where the names on the tombstones were registered and voted,” Earl Mazo, a reporter visiting Chicago during the 1960 election, told the Washington Post. “I remember a house. It was completely gutted. There was nobody there. But there were 56 votes for Kennedy in that house.”

Daley’s efforts at invention were more successful than Republican efforts in southern parts of the state.

Lyndon B. Johnson, who won the presidential election in 1964, got started in U.S. national politics by rigging the Democratic primary vote that resulted in him winning a U.S. Senate seat from Texas in 1948. In a chapter entitled “The Stealing,” biographer Robert Caro described how Johnson got elected in The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent.

A day after the polls closed, former Texas Gov. Coke Stevenson was leading Johnson by about 800 votes. But reports of “uncounted votes” from county election officials, like 427 in Duval County in the Rio Grande Valley — 425 of which were for Johnson — narrowed the gap. Five days later more ballots for Johnson were “found,” cutting Stevenson’s lead to 157 votes.

In Jim Wells County among those voting for Johnson were 200 names in alphabetical order in the same handwriting. On tally sheets submitted by election officials in Precinct 13 there, Caro writes, “The figure for Johnson, which had been reported as 765 on Election Night, was now 965 — because, according to testimony that would later be given, someone had, since Election Night, added a loop to the ‘7’ to change it into a ‘9.’” Johnson was now on the road to his Senate seat.

The Democrats — with help from political allies in the FBI — tried mightily for over four years to drive President Trump from office on fabricated charges he colluded with Moscow.

The best example of election rigging, of course, is the way the capitalist rulers of both parties seek to suppress ballot access for working-class candidates and parties like the Socialist Workers Party.