Arkansas State Representative Hudson Hallum, a Democrat, pleaded guilty Wednesday of conspiring to commit election fraud with his dad, a city councilman and a cop. Hallum had won a seat in Arkansas’ 54th district as a result of a special election in May of last year. The seat was vacated because Fred Smith, the representative that held it previously (another Democrat), was convicted of theft. Hallum was investigated amid election fraud accusations by Hallum’s opponent Kim Felker. A local Fox affiliate summarized some of the details:
“Prosecutors said Hallum and his father, Kent, tasked Carter and Malone with obtaining absentee ballot applications for certain voters and assisting voters in filling out the ballots, ‘actually completing absentee ballots in some instances without regard to the voter's actual candidate choice.’ The ballots were typically placed in unsealed envelopes before being mailed to local election officials. ‘If a ballot contained a vote for Hudson Hallum's opponent, it was destroyed,’ prosecutors said in a bill of information filed with the court.”
In a letter, Hallum apologized for his actions and took full responsibility. Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb stated that "the voters’ constitutionally guaranteed right to a fair election was stolen by an Arkansas Democrat who was more concerned with winning than upholding the public trust and being a true public servant.”
I wish election fraud were investigated this way on a national level, but I fear that if it were investigated, the evidence for fraud would be so insurmountable and far-reaching that it would result in a war, similar to the “Battle of Athens” in 1946.
Athens and Etowah are two towns located in McMinn County, Tennessee. Back in the 1940s, they were run by the wealthy Cantrell family, New Deal-supporting Democrats who hoped Roosevelt’s economic policies would help their Depression-affected county and help maintain the democrats’ control. Pat Mansfield was the deputy sheriff, and he acted as the head county official. In 1946, Paul Cantrell, a state senator, decided to run for sheriff.
Citizens had grown weary of all the political corruption that was entrenched in their cities and county. The sheriff and his deputies enjoyed the money they were making from false arrests. Sometimes they would ticket people at random for public drunkenness or speeding whether guilty or not just to raise revenue. The deputies also made commission for every person they arrested, booked and released, so the more they arrested, the more money the county made, and the more money the deputies made in commissions. During election time, the sheriff would use his deputies to intimidate voters into voting for him, and the vote-counting was always done by the sheriff and his deputies at the county jail to get an “official” count away from public view. This allowed him to stuff the ballot box or throw out any unwanted ballots in order to keep himself in power. Numerous requests by citizens to the Department of Justice to investigate vote fraud and to at least provide federal or state election monitors fell on deaf ears, and nothing was ever done about it. Their whole corrupt system had become a racket, and they weren’t going to give up on it easily.
At the end of 1945, over 3,000 WWII GI’s returned to McMinn County and found all this corruption abhorrent and antithetical to what they were supposedly fighting for overseas. They decided they weren’t going to take it. They put up their own non-partisan candidate for sheriff, Henry Knox, a WWII vet. He campaigned on open and honest elections and a promise to reform the corrupt county government. They planned to post GI’s at the polling locations in order to watch the votes to prevent any shenanigans.
On election day, Sheriff Mansfield brought in about 200 armed officers who beat up the GI poll watchers almost immediately. According to one account, a black citizen tried to vote but was told he couldn’t and was shot after he insisted on voting. (He later recovered.) The sheriff’s cohorts eventually blockaded the polling place to prevent the GI’s from getting involved. The sheriff and his deputies then transported the ballots over to the county jail for their “official” count.
After the GI’s and other citizens borrowed little more than 2 dozen rifles and pistols from the National and State Guard armories, they headed over to the county jail to retrieve the ballot boxes. They found higher ground across from the jail. For the next six hours, there was a standoff during which time the deputies and the GI’s fired on each other until each side ran out of ammo. Constitution.org continues:
At about 2 a.m. on 2 August, the GIs forced the issue. Men from Meigs County threw dynamite sticks and damaged the jail's porch. The panicked deputies surrendered. GIs quickly secured the building. Paul Cantrell faded into the night, almost having been shot by a GI who knew him, but whose .45 pistol had jammed. Mansfield's deputies were kept overnight in jail for their own safety. Calm soon returned: the GIs posted guards. The rifles borrowed from the armory were cleaned and returned before sun-up.
After an open and honest vote count, Knox was found to have won the election fair and square, 60% – 40%, and other GI’s running for office in the area posted similar victories.
As constitution.org concluded, “The GIs did not hate Cantrell. They only wanted honest government.” We obviously don’t want an armed “rebellion.” The Battle of Athens was a last resort, and thankfully no one was killed. But if these power hungry politicians continue cheating their way through the system, even up to the presidency, any bloodshed that results will be on their hands.