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Waiting for the Cemetery Vote

The Fight to Stop Election Fraud in Arkansas

Tom Glaze

Publication Year: 2011

Waiting for the Cemetery Vote begins with an overview chapter of Arkansas election fraud since the nineteenth century and then moves on to more specific examples of fraudulent activities over a dozen or so years that coincide with the onset of the modern progressive era in Arkansas. Author Tom Glaze, who was a trial lawyer battling election fraud during this time, is the ideal chronicler for this topic, bringing a memoirist’s intimate insight together with a wealth of historical knowledge. Glaze describes the manipulation of absentee ballots and poll-tax receipts; votes cast by the dead, children, and animals; forgeries of ballots from nursing homes; and threats to body or livelihood made to anyone who would dare question these activities or monitor elections. Deceptive practices used to control election results were disturbingly brazen in the gubernatorial elections in the 1960s and were especially egregious in Conway and Searcy Counties in the 1970s and in special elections for the state senate in Faulkner, Conway, and Van Buren Counties. A clean-election movement began in the early 1970s, led not by party or political leaders but by individual citizens. These vigilant and courageous Arkansans undertook to do what their public institutions persistently failed to: insure that elections for public office were honest and that the will of the people was scrupulously obliged. Prominent and colorful among these groups was a small band of women in Conway County who dubbed themselves the “Snoop Sisters” and took on the long-established corrupt machine of Sheriff Marlin Hawkins.

Published by: University of Arkansas Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

This book was on my mind for more than twenty-five years, a stretch when I served on three courts—the Chancery Court of Pulaski County, the Arkansas Court of Appeals, and the Arkansas Supreme Court—and after I had given up a usually bootless career as the scourge of election thieves. ...


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pp. xi-xiii

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1. The Simple Expedient of Theft

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pp. 3-18

Returning to my alma mater, the University of Arkansas, in September 1960 to enter law school, I found my senses refreshed by the gorgeous Indian summer that nearly always settles on the Boston Mountains at school time and also by a new curiosity about the peculiar state that I had...

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2. The Boys of Summer

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pp. 19-27

They called my father “Slick.” Harry Glaze was a four-sport star in the brawling mining town of Joplin, Missouri, during the Depression, which I believe is how he earned the nickname. He also had a mischievous streak, which made it seem especially apt. He was proud of the name and so...

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3. Absentee Democracy

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pp. 29-46

Investigating elections can be hazardous, Arkansas history having recorded a few violent deaths that were associated with election inquiries. The prospect for violence often could be measured in direct proportion to the availability of alcohol, as either a lubricant or a prize. ...

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4. Throw the Rascals Out

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pp. 47-81

For all that we could grasp at the time, the election of 1964 was a thorough repudiation of electoral and political reform. Faubus defeated Rockefeller to win an unprecedented sixth term more convincingly than many of us had imagined, and the public seemed to countenance widespread...

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5. Petition Parties

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pp. 83-98

Soon after leaving the attorney general’s office and setting up a solitary office in Little Rock in the spring of 1970, I went to see Robert W. Faulkner, Governor Rockefeller’s executive secretary, and proposed that the governor contribute to a new organization called The Election Laws (TEL) Institute...

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6. Crime and Impunity

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pp. 99-113

Nothing oppresses the spirit more than watching firsthand the exercise of absolute power, even when it occurs in the narrow quarters of a rural Arkansas county. In Conway County for more than a dozen years, from my venture into election research until my surrender in 1978, I would encounter...

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7. Snoop Sisters

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pp. 115-135

In the fictional lore of ancient Greece, the seductive Lysistrata persuaded the women of Corinth and Sparta to wean their husbands and lovers from sex until the men stopped making war with the Athenians. Assembling the women in the public treasury, Lysistrata got them to sip wine from...

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8. Court Jesters

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pp. 137-163

All’s Well That Ends Well makes a nice comedy theme but Shakespeare never knew Conway County. After failing to round up enough legal and illegal votes to stop him in the Democratic runoff primary, Marlin Hawkins threw in with Stanley Russ against the Republican candidate in...

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9. Independence Day

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pp. 165-176

Nineteen hundred seventy-six was a very good year. It was the bicentennial of American independence, and the country and our little state were caught up in a wave of nostalgia and patriotism. For a year before the culminating Fourth of July celebration and for months afterward...

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10. A Penny for Your Vote

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pp. 177-192

Sometimes election fraud is not a secret enterprise but a transparent way of life, undertaken with the willing participation of parties and factions. Votes are bartered for cash, whiskey or favors, and practically everyone willfully enters into the competition and accepts the outcome with the...

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11. Judicial Remedy

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pp. 193-214

While a dozen years of strife over election rascality and my perpetual anger over the refusal of every branch of government to deal firmly with the vote stealing finally drove me from the battle, I found my ardor for politics not diminished but sharpened. Every politician with and for whom I had worked...

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pp. 215-216

Having set out to record historical episodes of election fraud, quite a number of which engaged my poor skills as an investigator and lawyer, I worry that it is now expected of me that I say what it all meant. If it is not altogether historical and is still a problem, what can we do about it now? ...


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pp. 217-227

E-ISBN-13: 9781610754804
E-ISBN-10: 1610754808
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557289650
Print-ISBN-10: 1557289654

Page Count: 236
Illustrations: 41 illustrations
Publication Year: 2011