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Official Warns of Voter Fraud in 1907 Elections

An unusual increase in voter registration before the 1907 elections in Grants Pass, Ore., alerted the city recorder to possible fraud.

The Rogue River Courier reported as many as 70 people a day were registering at the courthouse, most of them from the second ward where two candidates were battling over temperance.

Grants Pass had a six-month residency law, potentially disqualifying some new voters.  The recorder was concerned many registering in late November would still not be qualified to vote by Dec. 2.  He warned that people would be checked at the polls and anyone caught voting illegally would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

The recorder's warnings must have been heeded, since election day was uneventful and no illegal voters showed up to cast ballots.  The temperance candidate, Dr. W.W. Walker, lost by 16 votes to his second ward rival, James Tufts. 

Voters in the first ward almost elected a man by write-in who had declared he would not run under any circumstances.  Dr. D.P. Love, was just 18 votes short of winning.


Sources: "Arrests to be Made for Illegal Voting." Rogue River Courier, 29 Nov. 1907 [Grants Pass Oregon] , p. 1, oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088281/1907-11-29/ed-1/seq-1/#date1=1846&index=13&date2=2016&words=January&searchType=advanced&sequence=1&lccn=sn96088281&proxdistance=5&rows=20&ortext=January&p. Accessed 1 Jan. 2017; "Election Passes Over With No Trouble." Rogue River Courier, 6 Dec. 1907 [Grants Pass Oregon] , p. 1, oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088281/1907-12-06/ed-1/seq-1/. Accessed 1 Jan. 2017.

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.