Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Details of the Ballot Stuffing Case 1896

LAWRENCEVILLE NEWS
NOVEMBER 25, 1896
Bound Over
The investigation of the charge against E. Ryan and H.H. Corrie closed last Tuesday afternoon.
The case was submitted upon evidence without argument. The evidence was voluminous and it would be difficult to be fair to any witness without giving his entire testimony and nothing more will be attempted here, therefore, than to give a statement of the case.

Sometime in September negotiations began between Corrie and Ryan on one side who were acting together, and Leavitt Flanders, by which Flanders’ aid and influence were to be had in securing as many Democratic votes in Lukin as possible for the Republican ticket, except for the President. 

According to the testimony of all parties, the question of how much Flanders would require soon came up and he was told they (Ryan and Corrie) would find the money needed. Various meetings were held in this city, Lukin and Sumner, at which the matter of securing votes was canvassed, and money paid to Flanders. As the time drew nearer to the election the amount to be paid grew larger. In all, $400 were to be paid to Flanders, with the promise that more was to be left with certain parties to hold until after the election and then paid over in case the vote of Lukin showed up according to promise. 

About all these meetings and the payment of the money there is no material difference in the testimony. Then came a meeting on a certain dark Thursday night by the Free Methodist church in this city, at which Ryan and Corrie and Flanders and Keneipp were present. Flanders and Keneipp claim that this meeting Ryan proposed that the judges of the election in Lukin should be bought up and that he, Ryan, would supply them with tickets which were to be folded, properly endorsed by the judge and placed in his pocket, having been marked for the Republican ticket from the Governor down. When a Democrat voter came from the booth the ticket that he handed to the judge was to be pocketed and one from the other pocket substituted. 

Keneipp, by reason of being assessor, was one of the judges and Flanders, to carry out the proposition, was also to get on the  board. Flanders also stated that a final meeting was arranged to take place at Corrie's house on the evening of Oct. 31st, when the last payment of $166 was to be made to complete the $400 and to deliver the ballots.

 Flanders states that after the meeting at the church, at which the ballot proposition was made, he laid the matter before F. C. Meserve and G. W. Lackey, who told him to apparently go on with the deal and secure the ballots. Ryan and Corrie deny that they made the above proposition to Flanders and say that Flanders and Keneipp themselves made the proposition to be supplied with ballots to be used at the election and that they, Ryan and Corrie, had refused to engage in anything of the kind. 

On Saturday evening, Oct. 31st, however they met, as all agree at Corrie's house, where the balance of the $400 was to be paid to Flanders. He also stated that a valise was also setting on the floor which he was told to take, and upon inquiry from him was told that it contained about 102 ballots. Ryan and Corrie deny that any valise or ballots were at the house or given to Flanders; that nothing but the money passed. 

From the statements of Wm McGrayel and Flanders, McGrayel was told by Flanders where he was going and what for and was asked to accompany Flanders, but declined to do so. However in company with W.A. Cochran they followed Flanders until he passed into Corrie's door yard. A few minutes after the meeting at Corrie's house, Flanders reported at the residence of G.W. Lackey with the valise which he said was turned over to him at Corrie's house. F.C. Meserve was sent for in the presence of Meserve, Lackey, Flanders and perhaps one or two others, the valise was opened and the ballots found and counted, numbering 99, which have been kept since then until the trial, the most of the time in the safe at the post office.

Squire Black took the case under advisement until Thursday at 10 A.M. when he rendered judgment binding the defendants over in the sum $500 each to abide the action of the grand jury.

Stay tuned tomorrow to see what the Grand Jury found.....