The Repeal of the Federal Election Laws

February 17, 1894


Federal Election Laws are being repealed,. which brings the possibility of greater voter fraud in elections.


The Federal Election Laws which have been upon the statue books for more than a quarter of a century have been repealed, and the ballot-box stuffers, political thieves,and ward manipulators have nothing to fear so far as the federal authorities are concerned.
The South rejoices, believing that one of the principles for which it contended during the War of Rebellion has been accepted as sound by the nation.
However, there is an uneasiness apparent. The failure of the Republican leaders to filibuster has puzzles the moss-back element of the Democratic Party who believed that “a fight to the death” would be made.
This feeling is shared by thousands of Republicans who thought that the Senators of their party would avail themselves of the privilege of debate and talk the Tucker Bill to death.
But the leaders of our party in the Senate were wiser than they knew.
The measure upon the statute books was not worth the effort. It has become useless and unless it was reinforced by other important amendments could not serve the purposes for which it was intended, -namely to secure to every man a free ballot and a fair count. But what will be the effect of this repeal Since the Democratic Party had become so violent in its antagonism to these laws, would not their repeal prove disastrous to the Republican Party? Not at all.
As usual, it was pandering to a sentiment predominant in the South. It was “throwing the tub to the whale.”
Let us see. It is a conceded fact that the Federal Election Laws were inoperative so far as the South was concerned and almost useless so far as the North and West were concerned inasmuch as in the former section fraud was boldly resorted to and murder put into operation whenever the occasion required in order to roll up the usual majority for the democratic ticket.
In the latter sections, all of the states have election-laws under the operation of which whenever there is a positive upheaval ordinary fraud will not prevent the positive expression of the people at the polls. It was to remedy the evil in the South that the Lodge Federal Election Bill was passed by a Republican House of Representatives, then presided over by Speaker Reed. The attempt failed owing to the treachery of certain Republican Senators.
As the matter stands now, there is no law relating to federal elections.
With the success of the Republican Party in ‘96 will come an excuse for the placing upon the statute books laws which will make citizens equally free, certainly so far as national elections are concerned.
Had the Democratic leaders left the measure which their party has repealed upon the books and made it less inoperative than before by amendments thereto, they would have been in better trim for the fight just ahead than they will be now.
The republican Party has emphasized the principle that the Party in power is responsible for the legislation of the country and should not be blocked in its attempt to carry out its policy.
The responsibility will accordingly be placed where it belongs.
Take it all in all by the passage of the Tucker Bill and the failure to pass another measure to take the place of the one repealed the leaders have added another to the longlist of the Democratic blunders even though it will take them four years to see it.
The Republican Party has a definite policy. Its position so far as fair elections are concerned is well known and it will be sure to carry out its pledges when the nation sees fit to again entrust it with power.
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Contributed By

Carlos Serrano


“The Repeal of the Federal Election Laws,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed October 20, 2019,