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the last campaign ?-A. I believe and know that L. G. Dennis and others opposed Colonel Bisbee from the beginning of the canvass until the day of election, but to what extent and influence I do not know.
Q. Did you or not see any Republican tickets at Arredonda on the day of election that did not have Bisbee's name on them as candidate for Congress P-A. I did see some such tickets with Bisbee's name not on them.
W. F. Rice, contestee's witness, swears : Q. Do you or not know that in the political campaign that preceded the last election in said county of Alachua the Republican party of said county was divided into factions, and that those factions were very much im bittered against each other?-A. It was divided into factions, and there was considerable bitterness against each other.
Q. Was it or not generally known that the Hon. L. G. Dennis was the leader of one of those factions, and J. T. Walls the leader of the other 1-A. It was.
Q. Do you or not know, and was it not a matter of public notoriety in the county, that Dennis was an opposer of Mr. Bisbee for Congress, and that J. F. Walls was his supporter ?-A. It was.
J. R. Flewellen, contestee's witness, swears :
Q. Were you in Alachua County during the political campaign which preceded said election ?-A. I was only here a week preceding the election
Q. Do you know whether or not the Republican party in said county of Alachua was divided into factions !-A. They were.
Q. State whether or not the leaders of these respective factions were acrimonious and bitter towards each other.-A. They were very bitter.
Q. How do you know?-A. I heard them abusing each other, and at Republican meeting, held in the yard of the United States land office, in Gainesville, on Saturday before the election, the Walls faction of the Republican party spoke very abusively indeed of the Dennis faction of the Republican party. Nearly all of the entire speeches made by the Walls faction were abuses of the Dennis faction. Immediately on the close of their speaking Mr. Dennis rose to go on the platform, and the Walls faction tore it down to keep him from speaking. Also tore down the tables on which the crowd had dined. Mr. Dennis got on a large box, which the Walls faction pulled out from under him. Mr. Dennis had to retire without speaking.
Q. Do you know whether Mr. Bisbee spoke there on that day 1-A. I do not know.
Q. Please state whether or not you heard the Republican supervisor, Edward Sammons, and the Republican inspector, Virgil George, make any statement on the day of the election in reference to its probable result, and the cause of such result.-A. About two o'clock each of them told me that they were satisfied that the Democrats had carried the election here, because the colored men had deceived them, and were voting the Democratic ticket. Ed. Sammons remarked that he was perfectly disheartened and ready to give it up. They repeatedly repeated this from that time until the polls closed.
Q. Was there any additional cause of the probable defeat of the Republican party at said polls assigned by them, or either of them, by attributing their defeat to any individual; and, if so, what?-A. They attributed it to L. G. Dennis splitting the Republican party in this county.
Q. Can you state whether or not the Democratic party were before and at the election united and harmonious, or whether they were divided, as you say the Republicans were 1-A. They were united and harmonious.
Q. Do you know if Captain Dennis was a supporter or opposer of Colonel Bisbee?A. I heard Mr. Dennis abuse Colonel Bisbee in very strong terms. He had printed, and caused to be circulated, a full set of tickets with no one's name on it for Congress, which some of said tickets were voted at the Arredonda precinct. These tickets were circulated all over the country, to my certain knowledge.
Q. Were these tickets above spoken of, which you say were blank for Congress, Republican or Democratic tickets ?-A. They were Republican tickets.
Q. How do you know that any of these tickets were voted at the Arredonda precinct 1-A. I counted them out of the box when canvassing the vote, and saw them to be such.
Q. Can you state whether there were a few or a great many of these tickets in circulation at Arredonda, from your observation ?-A. There were a great many.
Samuel D. Reed swears:
Q. Can you state whether or not the Republican party of Alachua County, during the last political campaign, when a member to Congress from this Congressional district was to be elected, was divided into factions, or was it solid ?--A. It was divided into factions.
Q. Who were the respective leaders of these factions ?-A. L. G. Dennis, a Republican, but anti-Bisbee man, was the leader of our faction, and J. T. Walls was the leader of the Bisbee faction.
Q. Do you know whether or not there were a considerable number of Dennis tickets in circulation, and voted at Arredonda at said election ?-A. There were a majority of Republican tickets on which Bisbee's name did not appear; they were blank for Congressmen. These were known as Dennis tickets.
Q. Please state how you know that many of the colored voters voted the Dennis or blank ticket for Congress. How many, and, if possible, their names ?-A. I don't know how many voted it, nor the names of those who voted it. I only know by_seeing the ballots in the box when they were canvassed, and from the fact that the Dennis faction claimed the right to be admitted to the polling-place, and to keep a tallysheet.
Q. Do you know J. T. Walls 1--A. I do.
Q. Did you see and converse with him on that day 9-A. I had a conversation with him that night after the polls were closed.
Q. Was that conversation in regard to the election at Arredonda on that day 1-A. It was.
Q. What did he say about that election 1-A. I asked him if there had been any irregularities in the election on that day. He said there had not that he knew of or could object to (I forget what his language was), except that it might be considered irregular for the inspectors to go to supper before they ccunted the vote.
Virgil George swears:
A. I heard Sammons state on the day of election, about 3 o'clock p. m., that he believed the Republican party was beat, for the reason, as he expressed it, that a great many negroes were voting the Democratic ticket; also that Dennis was stronger than he thought for.
Q. Was said Supervisor Sammons a Republican or Democrat 1-A. He was a Republican.
Q. Was the Republican party united in the last campaign, or was it divided into factions 1-A. It was not united; it was badly divided.
Q. Who were the leaders of those respective divisions or factions ?-A. Mr. Walls was a leader of one part, and Mr. L. G. Dennis the other.
Q. Can you state wbether or not these factions were very bitter against each other during the last campaign!-A. It seems that they were.
Q. Did you attend any Republican political meetings during the last campaign A. I did.
Q. Were there or not, within your knowledge, any Republican clubs in the county ? A. Yes, sir; there were.
Q. What were they called !-A. The Garfield Club.
Q. State whether or not, if you know, Mr. Dennis was a supporter or opposer of Mr. Bisbee for Congress? How was he regarded ?-A. I understood, but did not hear him say so, that he was opposed to Mr. Bisbee.
Q. Did you or not, during election day at Arredonda, in the afternoon of that day, hear the Republican supervisor, Edward Sammons, express any apprehension or fears that the Republican party would be beat?-A. I did, sir.
Q. To what canse did he attribute it ?-A. He said that he felt that we were getting beat, and seemed very much disheartened, and spoke of the party being split up, and assigned that as a cause.
Q. Were you present at the canvass of the vote at Arredonda ?-A. I was.
Q. State whether or not, if you recollect or observed, there were any Republican tickets in the box which did not have Mr. Bisbee's name on them for Congress ?-A. There were some there, but cannot say how many-did not keep any count.
Samuel C. Tucker swears: Q. Do you know whether or not the Republican party during the political campaign wbich terminated in the late Presidential and Congressional election, the Republican party in Alachua County, Florida, was united or divided ?-A. They were materially divided.
Q. State who were the respective leaders of the factions of the Republican party of said county.-A. They were denominated here as the Dennis and Walls factions.
Q. Do you know, or was it a matter of public notoriety during the late campaign, that Dennis was a supporter or opposer of Mr. Bisbee for Congress ?-A. He was not a supporter of Bisbee, and it was generally believed that he exercised every effort in his power to defeat him.
Q: Were there any tickets in that ballot-box at the time of the canvass which were Republican tickets, that did not contain the name of Mr. Bisbee for Congress ?-A. I
had no access to the box, and consequently had no opportunity of knowing, only as the inspectors called them out, but I saw a good many tickets of that character during the day distributed around.
Amos George, a colored voter, swears: Q. Are you a registered voter of Alachua County, and were you such at the election held in November last 1-A. Yes, sir.
Q. What was the character of that election; was it a peaceable and quiet election, or was it otherwise ?-A. It was as quiet election as I ever saw.
Q. Do you know Edward Sammons ?-A. I do.
Q. Did he act in any official capacity at the late election in November last 1-A. Not that I know of.
Q. Can you state whether or not there were a good many supporters of the Dennis ticket at Arredonda at said election ?-A. I do not know.
Q. Did you or not hear Edward Sammons say anything about said election! State what you heard him say.-A. I heard him say after the election was over he went to Gainesville, and the women wanted to jump on him and fight him for telling the negroes to vote the Democratic ticket. He told them that he could not help it; that is what I heard him say.
Q. Did he say anything further!-A. Not as I know of.
Q. Did you or not vote the Democratic or Republican ticket at the last election ?A. I aimed to vote the Democratic ticket.
Q. How long have you been a Democrat 1-A. I have been a Democrat all my days.
This testimony shows that there were two candidates for the office of State senator-Mr. Walls and Mr. Dennis-running in this district; that they headed very bitter and earnest and hostile factions of the Republican party; that the Walls faction favored Mr. Bisbee, but that the Dennis faction was very much opposed to him; that the fight was carried down till the close of the election; that Mr. Dennis, at this poll, received just the same number of votes which Mr. Bisbee fell behind his ticket; that Mr. Dennis's tickets did not have Mr. Bisbee's name on.
Julius A. Carlisle swears that,
Q. Please examine, ascertain, and state if there are any Republican tickets that are blank for member to Congress; and, if so, state how many.-A. Witness having examined states there are (85) eighty-five.
Q. Please examine, ascertain, and state the number of ballots in the box for Jesse J. Finley for Congress.-A. The witness baving examined the ballots, states: “There are one hundred and seventy-two votes for Jesse J. Finley for Congress.”
Q. Please examine and state how many votes there are in said box for Horatio Bisbee, jr., for Congress.-A. The witness having examined the ballot-box statess: “There are sixty-eight (68). There are also five Republican tickets with Horatio Bisbee, jr.'s, name scratched."
Q. Please examine and state the number of votes for the Republican electors.-A. The witness having examined the ballots states: “There are one hundred and fortyeight (148) ballots for the Republican electors and two Republican tickets with the Republican electors scratched.”
Q. Please examine and state the number of votes or ballots for the Democratic electors.-A. Witness having examined the ballots states: “There are one hundred and seventy-two (172) ballots for the Democratic electors."
Q. Please examine and state the number of ballots in the box for the Democratic candidate for governor.-A. Witness having examined the ballots states: “There are one hundred and seventy-two votes for the Democratic candidate for governor."
Q. How many votes do you find for the Republican candidate for governor?-A.' Witness having examined the ballots states: "There are one hundred and forty (140) votes for the Republican candidate for governor, and 17 scratched, and one with the name of the candidate for governor torn off..”
Q. Please examine the eighty-five Republican tickets which you say are blank for Congress, and state whether Leonard G. Dennis' name appears on them, or any of them; and, if so, how many !-A. Witness having examined those ballots states : * They all have the name of Leonard G. Dennis on them."
Q. For what office!-A. For a member of the assembly.
The evidence, on pages 398–399, shows 330 ballots in the box. The votes for governor showsFor Bloxham, Democrat.
172 For Conover, Republican
17 One with pame torn off.
330 Making the vote for governor equal to the number of ballots in the box.
Again, on the Congressional ticket, the evidence showsFor Finley
172 For Bisbee.. Blank (Dennis's vote)
330 In response to this testimony the contestant has called and sworn 260 persons who say they voted for him at this poll. But this is contradicted, first, by the fact that Mr. Dubose, the president of the Repub. lican club at the place, swears there were only 164 members of that organization, which is about the number of votes polled by the Republicans; second, by the fact that only 140 voted for the Republican candidate for governor; tbird, by the fact that the proof proves too much. If 260 voted for Mr. Bisbee, which is the full vote for Congress, what becomes of the large vote concededly cast for Mr. Finley? But there is a grave objection to the testimony of voters to show the true state of a poll in such a case as this, and surrounded by such circumstances. The voters were mostly illiterate and could not read their tickets, and the Dennis Republican ticket did not have Mr. Bisbee's name on it. How could they say any more than that they voted the Republican ticket? Besides, not only are political leaders liable to conceal their cutting a party ticket, but ignorant voters, who would incur the odium of their neighbors for admitting a deviation from the party paths, are also likely to deny the fact, and particularly when they have the additional shield for their consciences that they may not and perhaps cannot know certainly how they voted. Besides, if it is true that the full Republican vote was cast for Mr. Bisbee at Arredonda, and that Mr. Dennis did not cut him to the full extent of his power, why is not Mr. Dennis, a prominent Republican, called? If Mr. Bisbee really believed that Mr. Dennis and his faction did not cut him, the clear, well-defined, and intelligent course would have been to call and swear him. Then what we now see through a glass very darkly we could have seen face to face. But Mr. Bisbee did not call this prominent Republican, Mr. Dennis—the little giant of Alachua—and I believe he had a good reason for the omission-I believe the preponderance of the evidence shows that the election at Arredonda was a fair and just expression of the voters as they actually cast their ballots. It is utterly immaterial to this contention whether they intended to vote otherwise than they did. If Mr. Dennis got his work in by voting tickets without Mr. Bisbee's name on, we cannot allow the persons who cast them to vote over. In the case of Biddle & Richard vs. Wing, Nineteenth Congress, which was one of the best-considered cases ever decided by the House of Representatives, the committee very appropriately say on this point: “The committee are of opinion that the duty assigned to them does not impose on them an examination of the causes which may have prevented any candidate from getting a sufficient number of votes to elect him to the seat. They consider that it is only required of them to ascertain who had the greatest number of legal votes actually given at the election."
But suppose we admit, for the purposes of the further discussion of this point, that there are some evidences of irregularity and illegal and improper conduct on the part of the officers of the election at Arredonda, we must then inquire what is the amount of irregularity, and what is the character of the improper conduct on the part of said officers required by the law to vitiate and set aside the return, and permit aliunde proof of the votes cast?
The law on this subject is very fully and clearly laid down by Mr. McCrary in his work on Elections, sec. 302, wherein he states that mere irregularity does not vitiate the return, but only where the provisions of the election law have been entirely disregarded by the officers, and their conduct has been such as to render their returns utterly unworthy of credit, the entire poll must be rejected. In such case the return proves nothing, but the legal votes cast at such poll may be proven by secondary evidence; but he states very clearly that the return, until so impeached, is the primary evidence. In support of the doctrine of this section (302) he cites 1 Chicago Leg. News, 230; Brightley's Election Cases, 493; McKenzie vs. Braxton, Forty-second Congress, and Giddings vs. Clark, ibid.
In section 303 of the same book it is said : “ The power to reject an entire poll is certainly a dangerous power, and should be exercised only in an extreme case—that is to say, where it is impossible to ascertain with reasonable certainty the true vote. It must appear that the conduct of the election officers has been such as to destroy the integrity of their returns and to avoid the prima facie character which they ought to bear as evidence before they can be set aside and other proof de. manded of the true state of the vote.” In support of this doctrine three cases are cited from 1 Brewster, viz, Mann vs. Cassiday, Thompson vs. Ewing, and Weaver vs. Givin, and the case of Gibbons vs. Stewart, from 2 Brewster.
In section 304 of McCrary, the language of the supreme court of Pennsylvania, in Chadwick vs. Melvin, is quoted, which declares “ that there is nothing which will justify the striking out of an entire division but an inability to decipher the returns, or a showing that not a legal vote was polled, or that no election was legally held.” The case of Riddle and Richard vs. Wing, supra, is also cited as giving the correct doctrine, which holds: "Indeed nothing short of the impossibility of ascertaining for whom the majority of votes were given ought to vacate an election." (See also McOrary, 436, 437, 438.) Under the law, as laid down in these citations, does the evidence justify the rejection of this poll? Have all the provisions of the election law been entirely disregarded by the election officers; and are the returns utterly unworthy of creditIs it impossible to ascertain with reasonable certainty what the true vote is, and is it necessary to exercise the dangerous power of rejecting the poll, which the law says should only be done in extreme cases? We think not. But in addition to the provisions of the law, which declare what kind and amount of proof of fraud and illegality are required to reject a poll, the contestee very properly refers also to those presumptions which the law always throws around sworn officers, and those equally important presumptions of law, which are always in favor of innocence and right and against fraud and wrong. It is a wellsettled and fundamental principle of law that in all cases and at all times, all presumptions are against fraud and in favor of fairness.