Election 1944: Pre-convention news


Governor cites New Deal benefits

Fairmont, West Virginia (UP) – (April 1)
Governor J. M. Broughton of North Carolina tonight summarized accomplishments of the New Deal which he said had served as “a governmental blood plasma” for a nation “threatened with death” and predicted a 1944 victory for the Democratic Party.

In a talk to Democratic Party members of the state at a Jefferson Day dinner, the Governor outlined the 12 years the party had been in power which, he said, resulted in:

…an almost miraculous rescue from financial debacle, continuing to the period of the nation’s greatest prosperity and climaxed with a victorious leadership in the earth’s greatest war.

In praise of the New Deal, the Governor said it might well be termed “a governmental blood plasma administered to a nation suffering from shock and threatened with death.” He added that “in any case, the patient recovered.”

Governor Broughton said at present there is:

…hardly a laboring man or woman… who is not making more money than ever before in our history farm income has attained new heights; business and industry have made record earnings.


Editorial: Still up to the states

We were glad to see that the President, while unwilling to honor the so-called soldier vote bill with his signature, allowed it to become law with the expiration of the constitutional 10-day period after delivery of the measure to him by Congress.

His judgment that the bill is no more than “a standing invitation to the several states to make it practicable for their citizens to vote” can hardly be disputed. But it would have been mischievous of him to revoke that invitation simple because of pique at the success of Rep. Rankin and others in circumscribing the federal ballot bill with all kinds of restrictions.

It’s shameful that Congress couldn’t shake loose from one of the most inept demonstrations of petty politics Washington has seen so that a simple, uniform ballot of some type could have been provided for the Armed Forces.

But now that any further Congressional action is out, we hope the states will speedily enact effective legislation which will enable a maximum number of voters abroad to exercise their constitutional privilege.

We hope, also, that the President will instruct the Army, Navy and Maritime Service to cooperate with the states by distributing the ballots to voters on duty abroad and returning them to the states where they can be counted.


Supplementary soldier vote bill offered

Would expand scope of one just passed

Washington (UP) – (April 1)
Senators Theodore F. Green (D-RI) and Scott W. Lucas (D-IL), authors of the original federal vote bill for servicemen, today introduced a “supplementary” bill designed to expand the scope of the one which became law last midnight.

They acted 24 hours after receipt of a special message from the President in which he said he was allowing the measure to become law without his signature. Their new proposal would provide that any overseas servicemen who have not received a state absentee ballot by Oct. 1 may use the short-form federal ballot.

Hits at Rankin

Mr. Green explained that this would do away with the necessity for certification of the federal ballot by state legislatures, and would also do away with the requirement that a servicemen shall have applied for a state ballot by Sept. 1.

He said he would “make no prophecies” about his proposal, but in commenting on a statement by Rep. John E. Rankin (D-MS) that the matter was closed, he added:

He has said this bill was dead so many times that I can’t remember them all. He forgets that a cat has more than one life – and so do I – and so does this bill.

New law operating

Mr. Green predicted the Senate would begin consideration of the new bill soon after the two-week Easter recess.

The new law, passed by Congress two weeks ago, became law at 12:01 a.m. ET today.

Soldier voting law explained

Washington (UP) – (April 1)
The new soldier vote law provides for use of a federal ballot by service personnel to vote for federal officials, but on a sharply-restricted basis.

The federal ballot may be used:

  • Only by persons stationed outside the United States.

  • Only if their home states agree to accept the federal ballot.

  • Only if the individuals certify that they applied for a state absentee ballot by Sept 1 but have not received it by Oct. 1.

With these restrictions, the ballot could be used by members of the Armed Forces and the Merchant Marine, and also by members of the Red Cross, Society of Friends, women’s auxiliary services and the USO who are attached to the Armed Forces.

Six blank spaces

The ballot would have six blank spaces in which the individual would write the name of his choice for President, Vice President, Senator and Representative and, if there were such contests in his state, for interim Senator and for Representative-at-large.

The new measure also continues provisions of the 1942 Soldier Voting Act which waived all poll tax and registration provisions of state laws in voting for federal officials.

States are urged to permit use of short-form postcard applications for regular state absentee ballots, to make absentee ballots available as far ahead of time as possible and to cut down the size and weight of their regular absentee ballots as much as possible to facilitate their transportation.

Commission named

A War Ballot Commission – composed of the Secretaries of War and Navy and the War Shipping Administrator – is established “to cooperate with state officials, distribute federal war ballots and make reports to Congress.”

The new law specifically provides that a war ballot vote for a presidential candidate by name shall be considered a vote for electors pledged to that candidate and the vice-presidential candidate on that ticker, and provides that where the candidate intends to be voted for any office is plainly identifiable, no mistake or omission in writing shall invalidate the vote.

Local election officials, however, retain the ultimate authority to pass on validity of ballots.

Must sign affidavit

Persons using the ballot must sign an affidavit – witnessed by a commissioned officer, a non-commissioned officer not below the rank of sergeant or petty officer or other authorized person – that the ballot was cast fairly and not influenced by promise, threat or other such condition. Balloting is to be done in secret.

The War Ballot Commission is to return the ballots to the Secretaries of State of the proper states; if needed material, including lists of candidates for office, would take up too much shipping space, it may be printed abroad. Lists of candidates are to be given the commission by Secretaries of State, and the commission is to distribute them to voters. Validity of ballots is to be determine solely by local election officials.

The Pittsburgh Press (April 3, 1944)


Willkie gets rank-and-file primary test

Wisconsin holds primary tomorrow
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

Washington –
Wendell L. Willkie’s confidence in rank-and-file Republican support meets its first 1944 test tomorrow in Wisconsin’s presidential preferential primary to determine who shall cast the state’s 24 votes at the party’s national convention.

Completing a 13-day pre-primary campaign in Wisconsin, Mr. Willkie has moved on to Nebraska, where he is entered in the primary which takes place next week.

Capital politicians are awaiting not only the division of delegates among the four Republicans whose supporters are contesting the Wisconsin primary, but also a tabulation of comparative vote-getting ability.

Primary is ‘open’

Wisconsin has what is known as an “open primary” in which it is not necessary to be an enrolled party member to participate.

Thus, Democrats, who have no contest tomorrow, may vote if they desire in the Republican primary. Similarly, the Progressive Party, organized and led by the La Follette brothers, can barge in to help the Republicans decide who shall go to the Republican National Convention.

The significance of such an “open primary” is that it affords almost as good an opportunity as the final election to determine state sentiment.

If Mr. Willkie piled up a big plurality in Wisconsin, his adversaries are likely to claim, and perhaps with some justice, that Democrats invaded the Republican primary to support a man for whom they will not vote in the November election when a Democratic candidate is on the ballot.

But the net effect of a fat margin for Mr. Willkie would be to boom his presidential stock.

Opposed by Stassen

His slate of delegates is opposed in Wisconsin by three other groups supporting Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York, former Governor of Minnesota LtCdr. Harold E. Stassen and Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Governor Dewey, who has announced he will not seek the Republican presidential nomination, requested his backers to withdraw and some of them did so.

There is Dewey and MacArthur sentiment in Nebraska, also, but Mr. Willkie’s only opponent in the primary a week from tomorrow will be Cdr. Stassen. Nebraska will have 15 votes in the national convention.

Neither the Wisconsin nor Nebraska delegation is likely to be a balance of power at the convention which meets June 26 in Chicago.

But if Mr. Willkie proves to be a vote-getter in those two states, his followers can argue with effect that he should be a vote-getter throughout the Midwest.

In the electoral college, Wisconsin casts only 12 votes and Nebraska a meager six of a total of 531. Their combined strength in the Republican National Convention would be 39 votes of a total of 1,058.


Democrats called for July 19

Washington (UP) –
Chairman Robert E. Hannegan of the Democratic National Committee today formerly called the party’s presidential nominating convention to convene in Chicago at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 19.

He expects the convention to last only three or four days, obviously in the belief that President Roosevelt will be renominated by acclamation and that there will be little controversy over the vice-presidential choice and the party platform.

Boston man heads Roosevelt foes

Chicago, Illinois (UP) –
Dr. Gleason L. Archer of Boston, president of Suffolk University, today succeeded Harry H. Woodring as chairman of the American Democratic National Committee, which is opposed to a fourth term for President Roosevelt.

Mr. Woodring, former Secretary of War in the Roosevelt administration, resigned yesterday after the Executive Committee of the organization split on organization procedure and policy. He pledged, however, that he would oppose the reelection of Mr. Roosevelt.

Other officers named at the two-day meeting of the committee were vice chairman and former New York Congressman John J. O’Connor, New York treasurer William Goodwin and former Iowa Congressman Otha Wearun and Dr. Robert E. O’Brien of Des Moines, Iowa, who were reelected vice chairman and secretary, respectively.


Negroes’ right to vote in state primaries upheld

Supreme Court upsets 1935 ruling in 8–1 opinion involving Texas


Washington (UP) –
The Supreme Court ruled today, 8–1, that Negroes have a constitutional right to vote in state primary elections.

The court’s opinion was delivered by Justice Stanley Reed. Justice Owen J. Roberts dissented.

The ruling specifically involved the right of Negroes to vote in Texas Democratic primaries. Lonnie E. Smith, a Houston Negro, charged that the Democratic Party in Texas has been denying suffrage to Negroes in violation of the federal Constitution “solely because of race and color.”

The U.S. District Court in Houston rejected Smith’s arguments on the grounds that the Texas primaries were “political party affairs” and not subject to federal control. The Appeals Court in New Orleans also upheld the local election officials.

Justice Reed, in announcing today’s decision, said the court overruled its own previous doctrine – in 1935 – that the Democratic Party, as a private organization, had the right to make rules on who should vote in the Texas primaries. The state itself, the court held then, had made no law violating constitutional voting rights of Negroes.

Justice Reed said the court was not exercising its established power to reexamine constitutional questions “where correction depends upon amendment and not upon legislative action.”

Since its former decision, he said, the court has decided that primaries are a part of federal elections and therefore subject to federal control. This ruling was handed down in a Louisiana case.

Justice Roberts, in dissenting, said the ruling was another instance of a growing tendency on the court’s part to scrap previous rulings. He recalled that earlier this year he had expressed his views on the court’s willingness to “disregard and to overrule” former decisions.

He charged:

This tendency indicates an intolerance for what those who have composed this court in the past have conscientiously and deliberately concluded, and involves an assumption that knowledge and wisdom reside in us which was denied to our predecessors.

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Stokes: Former Senator Norris alarmed by partisan actions of Congress

Grand old man of Progressivism favors soldier vote, higher taxes, fourth term
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

McCook, Nebraska –
Former Senator George W. Norris, the grand old man of American Progressivism, looks out from the sun-porch windows of his home here upon the country and the world and finds some things that disturb him.

For the better part of an early spring afternoon, the venerable political warrior and philosopher talked about the course of events, speaking his fears of some trends he observes in Washington, where he served so long, and voicing also certain hopes and ideals for the future.

He is alarmed about what he regards as narrow partisanship in Congress. With much misgiving, he watched the fight in Congress over the soldier vote bill. He thought President Roosevelt was plainly right about this and the tax bill.

Just now he is deeply concerned over the fight that Senator McKellar (D-TN) is making against TVA, still closest to the aged statesman’s heart among the achievements of his career in Congress.

In the field of foreign policy, Mr. Norris is critical of our support of the Badoglio regime in Italy, of our recognition of Vichy, and what all this may mean, and, like so many others, he wonders what went on behind the closed doors at Cairo and Tehran. He concedes that he doesn’t have enough information to make sure and exact judgments, but he is beset with doubts about the indicated drift.

Favors fourth term

Despite this, however, and despite differences on some domestic policies, he is for a fourth term for President Roosevelt. He believes defeat of the President would hurt the morale of our armies, encourage our enemies, and prolong the war. He regards Mr. Roosevelt’s continuance in office as necessary to secure the right kind of peace.

Although he opposed the League of Nations after the last war, he is strong for an international organization to insure the peace after this war. He advocated the disarmament of Germany, Japan and Italy, perhaps also of Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, and demolition of their armament and munitions factories; but he warns that the peace settlement this time must not be one of vengeance carried on to innocent generations, else there will be another holocaust.

It is inspiring and warming to talk to the ex-Senator, and particularly so here against his background, for it gives you a better understanding of the man and the people among whom he lives in mid-America – drab, yes; living in towns so much alike, yes; but still groping for a star.

Streamliner’s wall

There is the brick railroad station, where the streamliners whir by going East and West, and the plain people mill about – and now so many soldiers. Always associated with this country is the whistle of the streamliner which wails through the night, crying across the plains, lonely as the voice of a pioneer.

Away from the station, up the hill, leads Main Street, just as in all of these towns here, past the stores, predominantly chain names now, past the once-nice restaurant which is so crowded and so short of help that you have to stand in line to eat.

You pass the hotel where the manager, himself, is down every morning soon after daybreak, sweeping the lobby and tidying up.

Home for 60 years

Seven block from the station sits the two-story stucco house where the Senator lives with his wife who, at 70, has to do the cooking and most of the housework because of the lack of domestic help. The Senator has lived for 60 years in this house.

He meets you at the door and welcomes you, glad to have a visitor. He leads you to the sun porch off the first door, where he spends most of his time. Here he works on his autobiography which is now nearly completed and will be published in the fall. Newspapers are about, and books.

He talks about Washington and Congress and the world and the plain people, relighting from time to time the stub of a cigar.


Editorial: Are they interested?

Some of the opponents of a federal ballot for soldier voting contended, among other arguments, that the men in the Armed Forces overseas are not interested in voting.

They have been predicting that most of them wouldn’t vote if given a fair chance.

We think this is beside the point. This is a constitutional democracy and under that form of government every citizen is entitled to a reasonable opportunity to vote. We should think that right would apply especially to those who are fighting the nation’s battles.

But here is a sign that they are interested and that they will vote, given a decent chance.

The Stars and Stripes is a daily newspaper published by and for the members of the Armed Forces stationed in the European and Mediterranean war theaters. There are good reasons to believe that this newspaper not only is the overseas fighter’s principal source of information, but that it fairly well reflects the opinions and interests of its readers.

In a February issue of Stars and Stripes, only recently received in this office, a complete roll call of the House on the soldier vote issue was published. Stars and Stripes obtained this roll call by special cable, not having received it from its regular news sources in the United States.

It is reasonable to assume that Stars and Stripes wouldn’t have gone to this trouble and expense had not its editors believed it was justified by the interest of its readers.


Background of news –
Wisconsin politics

By Bertram Benedict

Although Wendell Willkie has repeatedly stated in his primary campaign in Wisconsin that the result will be “crucial” to his chances for the nomination, the result in actuality may be less significant than that. For one thing, any voter may vote in either party primary in Wisconsin. The state does not even require, as do some other states with “wide-open” primaries, that the voter in a party primary pledge himself to support that party in the election.

Tomorrow’s statewide vote in Wisconsin for delegates-at-large to the national conventions may mean more than the vote for the district delegates. Mr. Willkie is supposed to be at a disadvantage in the districts bordering on Illinois, where the influence of The Chicago Tribune is strongest. Ex-Governor Stassen of Minnesota may do best in the districts bordering on Minnesota. Delegates for Gen. MacArthur may be aided by the fact that the general comes of a Wisconsin family, and spent most of his boyhood in Milwaukee.

Wisconsin long had a reputation as “leftish,” and for many years did lead the states in much social-welfare and political-reform legislation. The La Follettes controlled the state, which was the only one to vote for La Follette for President on a third-party ticket in 1924.

Former socialist stronghold

For 24 years, the mayor of Milwaukee was Daniel W. Hoan, a Socialist (much of his support came from non-socialists), and the second (and last) Socialist to sit in the House of Representatives was Victor Berger of Wisconsin (the first was Meyer London of New York).

But in recent years, Wisconsin may have swung well away from the left. Mr. Hoan was defeated for Mayor of Milwaukee in 1940. Two years before, Progressive Governor Philip La Follette had been defeated for reelection by a conservative Republican, Julius P. Heil.

Wisconsin gave Socialist Eugene Debs 85,000 votes for President in 1920; Socialist Norman Thomas, only 15,000 votes in 1940.

The state gave an overwhelming majority to Harding in 1920 and, although wet sentiment was strong, voted for Hoover over Smith in 1928. Wisconsin gave Roosevelt 67% of its major party vote in 1932 and 68% in 1936, but only 51% in 1940.

That it is dangerous to prophesy from primary results in Wisconsin was shown in 1940. Thomas E. Dewey, who stumped the state, contested the Republican primary with Senator Vandenberg, who remained in Washington but had Senator Nye of North Dakota to speak for him. Mr. Taft did not enter the primary, but the Taft men were believed to have supported Vandenberg, in a Stop-Dewey move. Mr. Dewey carried the primaries by about two-to-one over Mr. Vandenberg, and won all 24 delegates.

Prophecies recalled

Several days before, James A. Farley had predicted that if Mr. Dewey won in Wisconsin, he would be the Republican nominee. Mr. Vandenberg had been quoted to the same effect. Senator Nye said it was “very, very significant” that the total Republican primary vote was larger than the Democratic; he believed that Mr. Dewey had been helped by his “strong isolationist stand.”

E. F. Jaeckel, chairman of the executive committee of the New York State Republican Committee and now a Dewey sponsor; Charles P. Sisson, co-manager of Mr. Dewey’s campaign, and Kenneth Simpson, later a Willkie lieutenant, all said that the Wisconsin results augured well for a Republican victory in the nation.

In the Wisconsin Democratic primaries in 1940, President Roosevelt, not an avowed candidate, lost two delegates to John N. Garner. Mr. Garner got 25-30% of the Democratic vote, and Arthur Krock commented in his column in The New York Times of April 4, 1940:

If the vote for Garner delegates is viewed, as it must be, as a party protest against a third term for the President, then Mr. Roosevelt would face odds if he should seek reelection.

The Pittsburgh Press (April 4, 1944)


Willkie faces first big test as Wisconsin holds primary

1940 nominee opposed by Dewey, Stassen and MacArthur in race for delegates

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (UP) –
Wisconsin voters gave Wendell Willkie’s campaign for the Republican nomination the acid test today in a primary election to select the state’s 24 delegates to the GOP National Convention.

Mr. Willkie, in a 13-day tour of the state which ended last week, indicated he was prepared to stand or fall on the results of the balloting. He said the primary today would be the most important in the nation.

Willkie lone campaigner

Although Mr. Willkie was the only candidate to campaign for the Wisconsin vote, he was opposed by slates of delegates pledged to three others in today’s balloting.

Fifteen of the delegate candidates were pledged to Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York. They made the race in spite of Mr. Dewey’s request that they withdraw.

Nineteen delegate candidates were running in support of LtCdr. Harold E. Stassen, former Governor of Minnesota. Cdr. Stassen, through the Navy Department, announced he would not seek the nomination but would accept if it were offered.

MacArthur on ticket

Gen. Douglas MacArthur was represented by 22 delegate candidates. He did not acknowledge them or make any statement concerning the campaign.

Only Mr. Willkie had a full slate of 24 delegate candidates in the field.

In the Democratic primary, only President Roosevelt was the contestant with a full slate of candidates. A partial slate of 13 candidates was offered in opposition, but they were not pledged to any candidate.

Willkie scores party cliques

Grand Island, Nebraska (UP) –
Wendell L. Willkie denounced what he called party combinations and manipulations in the selection of platforms and candidates in an address here last night.

Mr. Willkie, speaking before 1,000 persons, said that:

If the Republican do not throw out all forces of negative partisanship, then their victory, if attained at all, would be hollow.

Although he did not mention any names, his remarks were apparently directed at Christopher J. Abbott of Hyannis, Nebraska, banker and landowner, who advised Republicans last Saturday, in Mr. Willkie’s presence at a meeting in Lincoln, to vote for LtCdr. Harold E. Stassen since Governor Thomas E. Dewey’s name was not entered in the April 11 primary.

He said:

Right here we not only are hearing of tales and trades and seeing these repugnant policies beginning to operate, but blunt, public declarations are being made of them.

I have heard speakers calling on the people to vote for a candidate whom they are not really for and every time people read of these things, they have a feeling of helplessness and frustration.


Conventions get special trains

Washington (UP) –
The Office of Defense Transportation announced today that it will arrange special transportation to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in Chicago for bona fide delegates, alternates and newspapermen.

Special provisions for the transportation, however, will be made only “insofar as possible without interfering with war traffic,” Brig. Gen. C. D. Young, acting ODT director, said.

In letters to Republican and Democratic leaders, he said it would be impossible to find train room for “the throng of visitors and sightseers who usually attend political conventions.”

The Republican convention is scheduled for June 26 and the Democratic for July 19.


Bridges fears plan to block soldier voting

Walker’s statement called ‘ominous’

Washington (UP) –
Senator Styles Bridges (R-NH) charged today that the administration apparently intends to discourage voting by servicemen overseas because it failed to push through Congress its “bobtail” federal ballot.

He described as “ominous” a Los Angeles statement by Postmaster General Frank C. Walker expressing doubt that the Post Office Department will be able to deliver ballots in time for the election. The statement, he said, is “in sharp conflict” with President Roosevelt’s promise that the federal government will do everything in its power to get the ballots overseas.

Doubtful about shipping

Mr. Walker said that some of the voting mail undoubtedly would have to be transported by sea since mail planes are already overloaded, and that he doubted if shipment could be made in time.

Mr. Bridges said that Mr. Walker’s statement would tend to discourage servicemen from seeking to vote and discourage states which are now preparing the necessary machinery for absentee voting.

He said:

It sounds as if the administration, failing to get the bobtail or abridged ballot by which the servicemen could not vote for state officials, intends to discourage voting by these servicemen at all, and that its cooperation in getting the ballots overseas will be lukewarm at best. It is most regrettable that this should be the administration’s attitude.

Cooperation pledged

The three-man war ballot commission authorized by the new soldier vote law called on state election officials to cooperate in facilitating voting for as many servicemen as possible.

The commission, composed of Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox and War Shipping Administrator Emory S. Land, issued a joint statement pledging to “work with state authorities to facilitate and expedite the transmission and return of all balloting material.”


Norris: GOP puts party above country in its desire to win

Former Senator defends administration’s stand in soldier vote, tax controversies
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

McCook, Nebraska –
Former Senator George W. Norris, deploring in an interview in his home here the partisanship on Congress which he feels is dividing the country when unity is so needed, was especially critical of the Republican Party with which he was identified for many years. He broke away and ran as an independent for the last term be served.

He said:

It does seem to me that the Republican Party is putting party above country. They are so anxious for victory.

The 82-year-old statesman was not sparing either those Southern Democrats who have been so hostile to the administration.

I don’t think President Roosevelt is right about everything. But in the controversies over the soldier vote and taxes it seems so plain to me that the administration was right that there ought to be no question.

He also regretted the so-called “Barkley incident,” the one-man rebellion which Senate Democratic Leader Alben Barkley staged over President Roosevelt’s tax bill veto, saying that this contributed to disunity and encouraged our enemies.

Currently he is sorely disturbed over the fight Senator McKellar (D-TN) is making against TVA, of which Senator Norris was the sponsor in a Congressional battle that went on for years. Senator Norris’ eyes light up when he talks about TVA. He banged his fist on the arm of his chair as he spoke of the fight against the project now in Washington.

He said:

Senator McKellar gives everybody hell – but they can’t criticize him.

Defends TVA director

He resented the Tennessee Senator’s attacks on David Lilienthal, TVA director, whom he praised most highly. He pointed out that Senator McKellar had fought legislation for the project in its earlier form.

The efficient management and operation of TVA will be severely crippled, Senator Norris said, by amendments requiring confirmation by the Senate of all government personnel making over $4,500 a year and by the proposed prohibition against the use by TVA of funds it derives from the sale of power. This, he said, would hamstring TVA in its program of improvement and handicap it in dealing with emergencies.

Hits partisanship

He said:

I think the way to make Congress more efficient is to make it less partisan. I don’t think they ought to play politics in Congress. I think partisanship is increasing. It always does, of course, approaching a presidential election.

When Congress goes wrong, it is because members are not voting their convictions. Some members are cowards. They are afraid of bossism from one direction or other. Some follow a course to give them votes so they can get reelected. The individual Congressman is honest, but they get afraid they will lose their seats.

George Norris was one of those independent, honest, conscientious, fearless members, as one who watched him for many years can attest.


Editorial: The Negro and the vote

The Supreme Court, reversing by 8–1 a decision of nine years ago, now holds that the Democratic Party of Texas cannot bar Negroes, if otherwise qualified, from voting in primaries.

In the earlier decision, now abandoned over the lone but biting dissent of Justice Roberts, the then conservative court had ruled (in Grovey v. Townsend) that to deny a vote in a primary was a mere refusal of party membership with which “the state need have no concern.”

In other words, the Democratic Party in Texas was in the nature of a private club, able like any club to limit its membership as it saw fit.

Now the 15th Amendment (1870) states:

The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

The amendment doesn’t mention primaries. But, as everybody knows, in Texas as in other Southern states, the primary is usually the whole shooting match. The election is only a pro-forma ratification. Thus, exclusion from the primaries is actually exclusion from an effective vote.

Nevertheless, through various expedients – including the one sustained until yesterday by the Supreme Court – this exclusion has been successfully maintained.

The new ruling is a milestone in the long and arduous struggle to obtain for the Negro the civil rights accorded to him by the Constitution. He should exercise great vigilance – and temperateness – lest new expedients be devised to thwart this newly-won franchise.

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Roberts adds to his record as dissenter

Opposes granting Negro voting right


Washington (UP) –
Justice Owen J. Roberts, conservative Republican member of the Supreme Court, now ranks as the key figure in two of the greatest reversals in the high tribunal’s modern history.

He was the line dissenter yesterday when the court overruled its own decision of nine years ago and declared that Negroes have a constitutional right to vote in state primary elections. The opinion was written by Justice Stanley Reed.

Justice Roberts, reiterating criticism voiced earlier this year, charged that the court was breeding fresh doubt and confusion in the public mind by its about-face tactics.

Has changed own views

Observers recalled, however, that it was Justice Roberts who in 1937 changed his mind on minimum wage legislation for women and thereby permitted the court to reverse an earlier ruling holding the New York Minimum Wage Act unconstitutional.

That reversal, which came during the famous Supreme Court reorganization fight, has been hailed since as the turning point of President Roosevelt’s efforts on behalf of many of his New Deal programs and policies.

Wage ruling reversed

The minimum wage law for women was originally rejected by the court in a 5–4 verdict in June 1936, but nine months later, it reversed this decision in upholding a Washington minimum wage statute. The split again was 5–4, on the basis of a change of viewpoint by Justice Roberts.

Thereafter, the tribunal held constitutional such programs of social and economic significance as the Railway Labor Act, the National Labor Relations Act, Social Security Act and the powers of the Securities and Exchange Commission – important phases of the New Deal program.

Stone changes mind

The court’s ruling yesterday was considered one of the tribunal’s most important stands in the field of civil liberties in the past decade. Justice Reed’s 8–1 majority opinion reversed a unanimous decision written in 1935 by Justice Roberts in the case of Grovey v. Townsend.

Justice Roberts and Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone are the only men now on the court who were also members when the 1935 case was decided. Justice Roberts stuck to his guns, but the Chief Justice changed his mind and agreed with Justice Reed.

New curb sought by Southerners

Washington (UP) –
The Supreme Court ruling that Negroes may vote in state primary elections raised the possibility today that some Southern states may abandon the primary system and return to the convention method of selecting political candidates.

The prospect of such action was seen by at least two Southern Senators, one of whom said that any Negro attempting to attend a Democratic convention in the South “will be thrown out by the seat of his pants.”

Senator John H. Overton (D-LA) mentioned the possibility of abandoning primaries and predicted at the same time that Southern reaction to the court ruling would be averse to a fourth term for President Roosevelt.

Mr. Overton said:

The South at all costs will maintain the rule of white supremacy. The Negro can be kept from the polls by educational qualification tests. This decision will add greatly to the difficulties of advocates of a fourth term in securing the support of the South,

Texas case involved

Southerners generally denounced the decision, in which the high court ruled that when primaries become part of the machinery for choosing state or national officials, a Negro has a constitutional right to vote.

The case arose in Texas where, as in other Southern states, the Democratic primary usually decides the winner of the general election.

Southerners in Congress predicted their states would find some other way, such as conventions or education tests, to prevent Negroes from participating in their primaries.

‘An abiding faith’

Rep. Nat Patton (D-TX) said:

I have an abiding faith that the Negroes aren’t going to vote in the white man’s Democratic primary. Our Democratic people in Texas will find some way to work out a Democratic primary for white folks. The Negroes don’t want to vote in an election that is not for them.

The high court’s ruling was broad enough to cover all primaries in which state and national candidates are nominated, but J. Lon Duckworth, chairman of the Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee, said in Atlanta that it should not qualify Negroes to participate in the Georgia Democratic primary.


Women may rule

Bedford, Indiana –
If the Democratic slate of office-seekers is nominated and subsequently elected, Lawrence County will be run by the “kitchen brigade.” All Democratic candidates for nominations – from sheriff to county commissioners – are women.

The Pittsburgh Press (April 5, 1944)


Dewey wins in Wisconsin; Willkie 4th

Stassen, MacArthur run second, third

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (UP) –
A slate of convention delegates, who ignored Governor Thomas E. Dewey’s appeal to leave him out of the Wisconsin presidential primary election, emerged victorious today over the supporters of Wendell L. Willkie and two other GOP presidential possibilities in 1944’s first major test of Republican sentiment.

Incomplete returns from yesterday’s Wisconsin primary election gave Governor Dewey of New York 15 probable delegates to the GOP convention at Chicago, LtCdr. Harold E. Stassen five, Gen. Douglas MacArthur two, and uninstructed delegates, two.

There were 24 convention seats at stake in yesterday’s balloting. Four delegates were elected at large, and two more were selected from each of the state’s 10 Congressional districts.

Dewey’s men win

Dewey supporters had only three candidates running at large, and they won easily. A delegate pledged to Gen. MacArthur appeared certain to win the fourth seat in the statewide balloting.

In the contests for the 20 delegates from the Congressional districts, a MacArthur-pledged candidate was leading in the 5th district, bringing the general’s total to two.

All of the five apparent winners in the camp of former Minnesota Governor Stassen were running in the Congressional district races.

Figures given

Secretary of State Fred Zimmerman, who led the Dewey victory for delegate at large, said the New York Governor’s forces were certain to control the Wisconsin delegation to the GOP convention.

The Dewey victory was achieved without help from the New York Governor who has insisted he was not a candidate and had asked his delegates to withdraw.

In the contest for delegates at large, Mr. Zimmerman led the field with 95,328 votes in 2,365 of the state’s 3,075 precincts. David Hammergreen, second Dewey delegate, had 89,883, and the third, Edward Hilker, 87,881.

Willkie men disappointed

Fred F. Koehler of Milwaukee, a MacArthur candidate, had a vote total of 58,136 for the fourth delegate at large seat. He was followed closely by three other MacArthur candidates. A Stassen candidate, William J. Campbell, was next with 45,271 votes and the highest Willkie-pledged delegate was Vernon Thompson with a total of 38,995.

The voting was a big disappointment to backers of Mr. Willkie, who had campaigned for 13 days in the state seeking election of his delegates.

Walkaway for Roosevelt

The Democratic primary was a walkaway for the slate of 26 delegate candidates pledged to President Roosevelt.

The only opposition came from a partial slate of candidates who were not committed to anyone and ran only under the slogan “Stop Politics – Win the War.”

During his handshaking and speech-making tour from one end of Wisconsin to the other, Mr. Willkie had emphasized that he believed the Republican Party must be willing for the United States to play a dominant role in world affairs.

‘Important’ victory

He said the Wisconsin primary would be the most important primary election in 1944 and probably would point the way to later developments in the GOP’s selection of a 1944 presidential candidate.

Willkie was the only candidate to have a fill slate of 24 delegate-candidates pledged to him. MacArthur had 22, Stassen 19, and Dewey 15.

Under Wisconsin voting laws, the primary vote is not binding on the convention delegates, but by precedent they stick to their candidate as long as he has a chance for the nomination.

West Point, Nebraska (UP) –
Sacrifices will be great and casualty lists long before the war is won, Wendell L. Willkie, candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, told approximately 500 persons here today while en route from Norfolk to Fremont and Omaha.

Mr. Willkie, who will wind up tonight his campaign for Nebraska’s preferential primary April 11, did not mention results of the Wisconsin primary yesterday. Mr. Willkie was to speak later today at Fremont and will make an hour-long speech at Omaha tonight on America’s foreign policy.

Willkie assails Roosevelt regime

Norfolk, Nebraska (UP) –
Wendell L. Willkie said today that the Roosevelt administration was “tired, cynical and disregardful of the will of the people” and added that he wanted to substitute a “Republican administration for this group.”

Mr. Willkie, in addressing a group of 1,000 at a local hotel as a part of his campaign for Nebraska’s 15 votes in the Republican National Convention, appealed to voters to help end “one-man rule, bossism and inside controls.”


Clark faces fight in Missouri

Jefferson City, Missouri (UP) –
Senator Bennett Champ Clark entered the bitter Missouri political turmoil today, seeking Democratic renomination for the Senate seat he has held since 1932.

Senator Clark faces the toughest election test in his career in opposing Attorney General Roy McKittrick, a frequent critic of Senator Clark’s pre-war isolationism.

Six in Missouri pledged to Dewey

St. Louis, Missouri (UP) –
Six of Missouri’s 30 delegates to the Republican National Convention were instructed today in favor of Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York.

Cicero, Illinois, elects five Republicans

Chicago, Illinois (UP) –
Cicero, a Chicago suburb, elected Republicans to five of six town offices in a local election yesterday, ending 12 years of Democratic control.

Henry J. Sandusky, police magistrate for 23 years, was the only Democrat to win, being elected president of the Town Board.

The offices of collector, clerk, supervisor, assessor and trustee were won by Republicans, giving them control of Town Hall.

Roosevelt, Willkie run in Oregon

Salem, Oregon (UP) –
Wendell L. Willkie, Republican, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democrat, will be unopposed in their bid for Oregon’s support at the national party conventions.

President Roosevelt’s name was entered in the May 19 Oregon primary late yesterday by Democratic Party leaders who filed petitions with 1,848 signatures. Mr. Willkie requested two weeks ago that his name be entered on the Oregon ballot. No other presidential candidates filed.


Parties back state session on war ballot

Group appointed to prepare plan

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (UP) –
Governor Edward Martin today had unanimous backing of both Republican and Democratic leaders in his plan for a quick special legislature session to assure about one million servicemen and members of allied war agencies a chance to vote this year.

Chieftains of the two major parties decided at a conference with Governor Martin here late yesterday to delegate to a subcommittee the job of working out details of the plans.

The leaders will meet here again April 20 to study results of the subcommittee’s work and suggest possible changes. The Governor then will summon the Legislature to convene May 1 – the Monday after the primary election – for a meeting he now believes will last only a week.

Points proposed

Governor Martin said the subcommittee’s job will be to draw up measures embodying these points:

  • Elimination of the party or non-partisan registration requirement for voting by persons affected.

  • Revision of the election calendar to allow the absentee voters as much time as possible in which to cast ballots.

  • Provisions for mailing ballots automatically to all servicemen and members of allied groups who are 21 years of age or older.

Governor Martin emphasized, however, that the committee must decide whether the last point would be “practicable” before making it part of the proposals. Such a provisions would eliminate necessity for those wishing to vote to request ballots from county election boards.

CD block canvass

Governor Martin confirmed reports that Civilian Defense block leaders would be authorized under the prospective legislation to gather names and addresses of servicemen and women and members of the Red Cross, United Service Organizations, Committee of Friends and similar organizations to facilitate mailing of ballots – but he disclosed that civic and fraternal organizations and individuals will also be invited to help in the task.

Members of the group drafting the measures are Attorney General James H. Duff, Commonwealth Secretary Charles M. Morrison, Deputy Highways Secretary Ray F. Smock, Senators Weldon B. Heyburn and Bernard B. McGinnis (majority and minority leaders, respectively, of the State Senate), and Reps. Franklin H. Lichtenwalter and Reuben E. Cohen (majority and minority leaders of the House).

Services speed votes for troops

Washington (UP) –
The armed services and the War Shipping Administration were taking steps today to provide voting opportunities under the new soldier vote law for servicemen, merchant seamen, Red Cross and USO workers overseas to the fullest extent consistent with “waging a victorious war.”

The War Department said it was sending to commanders in all areas circulars explaining the new law and instructing them to provide every possible chance for their men to vote.

The Navy announced that it had made plans for rapid transmission of both state and federal ballots.

The WSA said ballots will be sent by air if shipping schedules do not permit overseas delivery in time.


Norris: Failure to reelect Roosevelt would delay peace

Former Senator stresses essential points he regards as vital to nation’s security
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

McCook, Nebraska –
Looking to the future, the venerable statesman, former Senator George W. Norris, outlined in an interview at his home here some things he regards as essential.

  • Reelection of President Roosevelt.

I am for a fourth term for the President principally on that it would be a mistake to change before we have a peace treaty made. I believe if President Roosevelt were defeated it would hurt the morale of our Army and increase the morale of Hitler and his armies. Hitler is just holding on now, hoping there will be a change, hoping thus that he can get better peace terms.

Senator Norris added:

I don’t like some things that are going on. I don’t like our dealings with Badoglio. Russia is being criticized for recognizing Badoglio, but I don’t think Russia would have recognized him if we hadn’t set him up. I think we’ve been too lenient with the Vichy government.

But I think to take Roosevelt out now and put someone else in would hurt what has been achieved. There’s no prominent man in the United States who seems to measure up to the task of the Presidency in the immediate future. I hate to say that.

  • Creation of an international organization to keep the peace, total disarmament of our enemies, no vengeance in the peace settlement.

I believe we will have some sort of organization among nations to keep the peace, and I am for it, though I was against the League of Nations. I think we ought to disarm completely Germany, Japan and Italy, and perhaps Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria. All their munitions factories should be destroyed and they should not be allowed to build more.

We must not leave any humiliation in the hearts of the Germans. It passed from father to son, and then Hitler came along and capitalized it, and we had another war.

  • Safeguards against cartels and monopolies after the war.

I think our own country has got to be careful lest monopolies and combinations get control of our country after the war. There’s always danger of that after a war. The fellows who are making large profits in the war want to keep on.

  • Economic protection for returning soldiers.

I want to see everything done that can be done to help the returning soldiers.

  • Limitation of incomes and salaries.

I was concerned when Congress refused President Roosevelt’s plan for limiting salaries to $25,000 a year. We may have to go even lower.

I think everybody will be happier that way. There’s a limit to an income that will bring enjoyment or pleasure to the man who gets it. We’ll have a happier world, with less poverty and less riches in it.