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CHARLES A. SULZER, Deceased,
CONTESTED ELECTION CASE
JAMES WICKERSHAM v. CHARLES A. SULZER, DECEASED,
GEORGE B. GRIGSBY,
TERRITORY OF ALASKA.
NOTICE AND GROUNDS OF CONTEST.
[House Document No. 74, Sixty-sixth Congress, first session.)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C., June 2, 1919. SIR: I have the honor to present herewith a letter from the Hon. James Wickersham inclosing the original copy of a notice of contest and the petition and statement specifying particularly the grounds of his contest for a seat in the House of Representatives of the Sixty-sixth Congress as Delegate from the Territory of Alaska, which notice of contest could not, it is stated, be served on said Sulzer owing to his death two days prior to the issuance of his certificate of election by the canvassing board of the Territory of Alaska. Very respectfully,
WILLIAM TYLER PAGE,
Clerk of the House of Representatives. The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C.
JUNEAU, ALASKA, May 3, 1919. Sir: Herewith inclosed is the original copy of a notice of contest and the petition and statement specifying particularly the grounds upon which I rely in making the contest for the office of Delegate from Alaska to the Sixty-sixth Congress. I had a complete copy of this notice of contest and the petition and statement ready for service upon Hon. Charles A. Sulzer, whom I had made contestee, but unhappily Mr. Sulzer died two days before the canvassing board finished its compilation and canvass of the election returns of November 5, 1918, and two days before it declared him elected and issued a certificate, so it was impossible to make service upon him prior to his decease. This copy is sent to you for filing, and I respectfully request that it be presented by you to the House of Representatives on the first day of its opening session at the special session to be called by the President.
I also respectfully request, the Speaker of the House of Representatives to refer the matter of the contest to one of the Election Committees as soon as it shall be appointed by the House. Respectfully,
JAMES WICKERSHAM. Hon. SOUTH TRIMBLE, Clerk of the House of Representatives,
Washington, D. C.
To the House of Representatives,
Congress of the United States, Washington, D. C: Please take notice that it is my intention to and I shall contest the action of the canvassing board of the Territory of Alaska in issuing a certificate of election as Delegate to Congress from Alaska, based upon the returns of the election held in said Territory on November 5, 1918, to Hon. Charles A. Sulzer, deceased, some days after his demise, upon the allegations and proofs contained in the following petition and attached thereto, and proofs taken in support thereof.
It is my intention to and I shall contest said election for the reason that this contestant received the greatest number of votes cast for any candidate at said election for Delegate to Congress from Alaska, and because contestant, and not said Sulzer, was duly and legally elected as such Delegate at said election, and because the action of the canvassing board was illegal and void.
And also take notice that annexed hereto is a petition addressed to the House of Representatives, specifying particularly the grounds upon which I rely in making said contest, and that this notice and petition are served by delivery to the House of Representatives because the said Hon. Charles A. Sulzer died in Alaska on April 15, 1919, before the certificate of election was issued to him. Dated this 3d day of May, 1919.
JAMES WICKERSHAM, Contestant.
To the House of Representatives of the United States, Sixty-sixth Congress:
Comes now James Wickersham, contestant, and particularly specifies the following grounds upon which he relies in the contest herein against the certificate of election issued to the Hon. Charles A. Sulzer, deceased.
I. That at all the times mentioned in this petition and ever since the passage and approval of the act of Congress entitled “An Act providing for the election of a Delegate to the House of Representatives from the Territory of Alaska," approved May 7, 1906 (34 Stat. L., 169), it was and is the law of the United States that the people of the Territory of Alaska shall be represented by a Delegate in the House of Representatives of the United States, chosen by the people thereof in the manner and at the time prescribed by the laws of the United States, and who shall be known as the Delegate from Alaska.
II. That at the general election held pursuant to the statutes of the United States in the Territory of Alaska on the 5th day of November, 1918, this contestant was a duly nominated candidate for the said office of Delegate from Alaska ; that upon the date of said election this contestant was a native-born citizen of the United States and was then and is now, and for more than 18 years last past has been, an inhabitant and a qualified voter in the Territory of Alaska, and on the said 5th day of November, 1918, was not less than 25 years of age, and was then of the age of 61 years, and a resident of the town of Fairbanks, in said Territory of Alaska.
III. That under and pursuant to the ternts of the laws of the Territory of Alaska applicable to elections this contestant had been and was duly nominated as the Republican candidate for the office of Delegate from Alaska and Charles A. Sulzer had been and was duly nominated as the Democratic candidate for said office, and Francis Connolly had been and was duly nominated as the Socialist candidate for the said office, and all of said individuals were entitled as such candidates to have their names printed on the official ballot to be used at the said election of November 5, 1918.
IV. That at the said election so held in the Territory of Alaska on the 5th day of November, 1918, this petitioner, James Wickersham, contestant, received the greatest number of legal votes cast for any person or candidate for the office of Delegate from Alaska, and thereby was and now is the duly elected Delegate to Congress from said Territory of Alaska, and was thereupon and now is entitled, under the laws of the United States, to a seat as Delegate from Alaska in the House of Representatives in the Congress of the United States in the Sixty-sixth Congress.
V. That the canvassing board of the Territory of Alaska provided by the laws of Congress for the canvass and confpilation of the returns of said election and authorized to issue the certificate of election to the person receiving the greatest number of legal votes thereat was composed of the governor, the secretary of the Territory, and the collector of customs; that each and all of said officers were at all such times of the opposite political party to this contestant and were his partisan opponents; that seeking to embarrass and delay this contestant in securing a prompt and fair settlement of his rights in the matter of said office, and in ascertaining the result of said election so held in said Territory on November 5, 1918, the said canvassing board purposely delayed the collection of the official election returns and the canvass thereof from month to month until April 16, 1919, whereupon, learning that their candidate, Charles A. Sulzer, was then dead, they finally and hurriedly concluded the canvass and compilation and issued the certificate of election in the name of the said Sulzer, knowing hint to be then deceased, and forwarded it at once to the Clerk of the House of Representatives some days after his death; that all the various election officers in Alaska having the conduct of said election of November 5, 1918, were appointed by the partisan official opponents of this contestant without permitting him or his friends to choose even a minority representative on said election boards, and all said officials actively engaged in seeking to prevent this contestant's reelection at said polls; that such officials controlled the receipt of ballots on election day and gave the benefit of all doubtful questions arising in said polls against this contestant; that all the returns of said election were so prepared by the said officials and all doubtful questions and ballots therein were settled in opposition to this contestant and in favor of said Sulzer ; that the returns of said election were at all times from November 5, 1918, to the final conclusion of the canvass and compilation thereof on April 16, 1919, in the possession of the said partisan opponents of contestant and were at all such times subject to their inspection and manipulation, whereby all doubts and questions arising in said election, in the acceptance or rejection of ballots, and in the returns and canvass were decided by his opponents against this contestant, and if any changes, alterations, and frauds were perpetrated in said election and in the conduct thereof, in the returns and in the canvass and compilation of the same, they were so confmitted by the partisans, friends, and supporters of the said Charales A. Sulzer, and not otherwise.
VI. That Charles A. Sulzer, the said candidate for Delegate on the Democratic ticket in opposition to this contestant, died suddenly en route from his home at Sulzer post office, Alaska, to Ketchikan, Alaska, on the evening of April 15, 1919, and thereafter, on April 16, 1919, after being duly notified that he was dead, said canvassing board completed the long-delayed compilation of said election returns and declared that upon the face of the same said Sulzer had been elected by a plurality of 33 votes over this contestant, and on April 17, 1919, issued a certificate of election in the name of said Charles A. Sulzer and forwarded the same to the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Washington, D. C., for filing in the records of said House of Representatives.
VII. That notwithstanding the fact that this contestant was duly and legally elected to the office of Delegate from Alaska to the House of Representatives in Congress at said election on November 5, 1918, the governor of Alaska and other partisan official opponents of this contestant have caused bills to be introduced in the Territorial Legislature of Alaska, since said Sulzer's death, to change the laws of Alaska and of the United States in respect to the election of a Delegate to Congress in cases of vacancy, whereby they intend fraudulently and in violation of the acts of Congress to conduct a sham election, officered by their partisans and those unfriendly to this contestant, and to elect one of their official partisans in violation of said laws to said alleged vacancy ; that the said governor, after a caucus of his partisans in Juneau, has announced in their partisan newspaper that it is his intention to issue a call for said special election on April 29 immediately after the adjournment of the said legislature and to hold the said election on June 3, 1919, all of which is in violation of the laws passed by Congress for the conduct of elections for the election of a Delegate front Alaska to the Congress of the United States, and if carried out as threatened will be unlawful and fraudulent.
VIII. That the Territorial canvassing board, in canvassing the returns of said election of November 5, 1918, and in deciding and determining how many votes were cast for each candidate, based their decision exclusively upon the face of the certificates of results of the election at each precinct throughout the Territory, and upon nothing else, and took into consideration no illegal action, error, or mistake in the conduct of the election by the electors and officials, or the determination of the results thereof by the judges of election, whereby the results at certain of the voting precincts in said Territory have been rendered and now are wholly or in part erroneous, invalid, and void.