The Pittsburgh Press (October 29, 1944)
Say they’ll vote for Harry Byrd because of convention’s race planks
By James Perry, United Press staff writer
Jackson, Mississippi – (Oct. 28)
Three of Mississippi’s nine Democratic presidential electors announced today that they will not vote for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and vice-presidential candidate Harry S. Truman in the Electoral College.
Frank E. Everett of Indianola, Clarence E. Morgan of Kosciusko, and W. G. McLain of McComb issued a statement here in which they said they would vote for Senator Harry F. Byrd (D-VA) for President.
The statement, addressed to the Democratic voters of Mississippi, said that the Mississippi Democratic Convention in June had freed all electors from the obligation of voting for party nominees if the National Convention failed to restore the two-third rule or if it adopted race platforms obnoxious to the South.
Race planks hit
On the basis of these instructions, the statement said, Mississippi electors have the right to vote for any Democrat holding similar views to those expressed by the state convention.
The statement contended that the National Democratic Convention did pass obnoxious race planks and failed even to consider restoration of the two-thirds rule.
The action of the three electors today was expected to cause a furor in Mississippi political circles as voters must vote for all nine electors or ballots will not be counted. A possibility that a second pro-Roosevelt slate of electors might be placed on the ballot was ruled out because the deadline set for qualification of electors was Sept. 7.
Signed a statement
Soon after the state Democratic convention in June, the Executive Committee in Mississippi had requested that all party electors support Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Truman at that time eight electors signed a statement pledging their support unless something happened to make the election of President Roosevelt inimical to the best interest of the South and Mississippi. The ninth pledged unqualified support.
Later, when Roosevelt backers threatened to put a second slate of electors on the ballot, Governor Thomas L. Bailey issued a statement in which he said he had been assured by all electors that they would support party nominees.
Factors are given
The three electors named the following factors which make it impossible for them to support the Democratic ticket:
Appeals by nominees for the Negro vote in the South.
Promises to do away with race segregation in the South.
Open acceptance of support by candidates of Communists and Sidney Hillman, chairman of the Political Action Committee.