Safeguarding Federal Elections from Possible Terrorist Attack: Issues and Options for Congress - EveryCRSReport.com
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Concerns have arisen that terrorist attacks near the November 2, 2004 federal election might belaunched to disrupt voting and affect the outcome. As a result, questions have arisen about whatmight be done both to prevent such attacks and to respond to any that occur. Deliberations havecentered largely around two questions: If a terrorist attack occurs, should the election be postponed,in whole or in part, and if so, by whom and under what authority? What steps should and are beingtaken to enhance security for the election?Questions about election postponement include who has the constitutional authority, to whomcould such power be delegated, and what legal limitations exist. Congressional authority to regulateelections may vary depending on what contest or contests are affected. The executive branch doesnot currently have authority to set or change the times of elections, a power reserved for Congressunder the Constitution, although Congress may be able to delegate such authority. Either Congressor the states might also pass legislation in response to a terrorist attack that would change the timingof any elections that were affected.Some states have enacted statutes providing for the temporary postponement of elections.Many state statutes also grant the Governor the power to suspend certain state laws during anemergency. Those statutes might also be able to be used to postpone the general presidential electionin the state during an emergency. Actual postponement of elections has occurred in relatively fewcases over the last 150 years. The best known recent examples are the New York state primaryscheduled for September 11, 2001, and the Florida primary scheduled on September 1, 1992, shortlyafter Hurricane Andrew. In New York, the entire election was rescheduled; in Florida, only DadeCounty was rescheduled. In many other cases in the United States and other countries, electionshave been held despite difficult situations arising from natural events or conflicts.It is generally the responsibility of state and local governments to provide security at pollingplaces. State and local laws regarding police presence vary, with some states prohibiting and othersrequiring it. Federal law prohibits the use of federal military forces at the polls except "to repelarmed enemies of the United States." A recently released guide for state election-security planningrecommends establishment of planning teams and preparation for a range of possible scenarios.Reactions of state and local officials have varied, with some intending to make as few visiblechanges as possible and others planning to increase police presence or even move polling places.Whether Congress considers actions to safeguard elections may depend on events associatedwith U.S. elections or those in other countries. Among the options are to take no legislative action,to explicitly delegate authority to the executive branch to the extent permitted by the Constitution,to provide mechanisms for improved coordination, and to encourage early and absentee voting. Allthese options have some potential benefits but also significant potential disadvantages.
Order Code RL32654CRS Report for CongressReceived through the CRS WebSafeguarding Federal Electionsfrom Possible Terrorist Attack:Issues and Options for CongressOctober 27, 2004name redacted, CoordinatorSenior Specialist in Science and TechnologyResources, Science, and Industry Divisionname redactedSpecialist in American National GovernmentGovernment and Finance Divisionname redacted and name redactedLegislative AttorneysAmerican Law DivisionCongressional Research Service Ë' The Library of CongressSafeguarding Federal Elections from PossibleTerroristAttack: Issues and Options for CongressSummaryConcerns have arisen that terrorist attacks near the November 2, 2004 federalelection might be launched to disrupt voting and affect the outcome. As a result,questions have arisen about what might be done both to prevent such attacks and torespond to any that occur. Deliberations have centered largely around two questions:If a terrorist attack occurs, should the election be postponed, in whole or in part, andif so, by whom and under what authority? What steps should and are being taken toenhance security for the election?Questions about election postponement include who has the constitutionalauthority, to whom could such power be delegated, and what legal limitations exist.Congressional authority to regulate elections may vary depending on what contest orcontests are affected. The executive branch does not currently have authority to setor change the times of elections, a power reserved for Congress under theConstitution, although Congress may be able to delegate such authority. EitherCongress or the states might also pass legislation in response to a terrorist attack thatwould change the timing of any elections that were affected.Some states have enacted statutes providing for the temporary postponement ofelections. Many state statutes also grant the Governor the power to suspend certainstate laws during an emergency. Those statutes might also be able to be used topostpone the general presidential election in the state during an emergency. Actualpostponement of elections has occurred in relatively few cases over the last 150years. The best known recent examples are the New York state primary scheduledfor September 11, 2001, and the Florida primary scheduled on September 1, 1992,shortly after Hurricane Andrew. In New York, the entire election was rescheduled;in Florida, only Dade County was rescheduled. In many other cases in the UnitedStates and other countries, elections have been held despite difficult situations arisingfrom natural events or conflicts.It is generally the responsibility of state and local governments to providesecurity at polling places. State and local laws regarding police presence vary, withsome states prohibiting and others requiring it. Federal law prohibits the use offederal military forces at the polls except ''to repel armed enemies of the UnitedStates.'' A recently released guide for state election-security planning recommendsestablishment of planning teams and preparation for a range of possible scenarios.Reactions of state and local officials have varied, with some intending to make asfew visible changes as possible and others planning to increase police presence oreven move polling places.Whether Congress considers actions to safeguard elections may depend onevents associated with U.S. elections or those in other countries. Among the optionsare to take no legislative action, to explicitly delegate authority to the executivebranch to the extent permitted by the Constitution, to provide mechanisms forimproved coordination, and to encourage early and absentee voting. All theseoptions have some potential benefits but also significant potential disadvantages.ContentsBackground . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1Election Postponement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Constitutional Authority and Federal Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Federal Elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2State Elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Executive Branch Power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4State Laws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Examples of State Statutes Regarding Emergency Election Postponement . 5Florida . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Georgia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Hawaii . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Louisiana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Maryland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6New York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6North Carolina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7Examples of State Statutes Granting Emergency Powers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7Examples from State Elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8New York Primary Election on September 11, 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8Florida September 1, 1992 Primary Election (Hurricane Andrew) . . . . 9Hawaii September 19, 1992 Primary Election (Hurricane Iniki)Held on Schedule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11Maine September 13, 1954 General Election (Hurricane Edna)Held Despite Damage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11Other Weather-related Election Delays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12Foreign Elections Sometimes Held Under Difficult Conditions . . . . . . . . . 13Colombia 1990 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13Peru 1991 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13Cambodia 1993 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13Bosnia 1996 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14Taiwan, 1996 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14Factors Governing Decisions to Postpone Elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15The Uniform Election Day in November . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15Louisiana's Open Primary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16Early Voting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16A Federal Election May Be Postponed Because of theVoting Rights Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17The Civil War Amendments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18Concluding Observations About Election Postponement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19Security at the Polling Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20Impact of Early and Absentee Voting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22Options for Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22Take No Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22Delegate Authority for Safeguarding Elections to theExecutive Branch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Treat Security as an Aspect of Continuity of Government . . . . . . . . . 23Provide Mechanisms for Improved Coordination among States onElection Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Encourage Early Voting and Absentee Voting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Safeguarding Federal Elections fromPossible Terrorist Attack: Issues andOptions for CongressBackgroundThe terrorist bombings that occurred in Spain on March 11, 2004, before thatcountry's national election, were considered by many to have had a significant impacton the outcome of that election.1 Many observers believed that such was their intent.Concerns then arose that terrorist attacks in the United States near the time of theNovember 2 federal election could also be aimed at affecting the outcome of thatelection. In early July, news media began reporting such concerns from the BushAdministration and that the Department of Justice was considering the question offederal authority to postpone the election.2 Subsequently, administration officialsemphasized that the election would proceed as scheduled. For example, on July 13,Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Chairman DeForest Soaries released apublic statement declaring ''There are no circumstances that could justify thepostponement or cancellation of a presidential election in the United States.''3However, the question of polling place vulnerabilities persists. As a result,questions have arisen about what responses might be taken both to prevent suchattacks and respond to them should they occur. Deliberations have been affected notonly by concerns about homeland security in the wake of the terrorist attacks ofSeptember 11, 2001, but also by the expected closeness of the presidential electionand the resulting highly charged nature of the contest. Deliberations and debate havecentered largely around two questions:!!If a terrorist attack occurred, should the election be postponed, inwhole or in part, and if so, by whom and under what authority?What steps should and are being taken to enhance security for theelection?1Whether the impact resulted from the fact of the bombings or the nature of the incumbentgovernment's subsequent reaction remains in dispute.2See, for example, Michael Isikoff, ''Election Day Worries,'' Newsweek, 19 July 2004, p.8.3Election Assistance Commission, ''Chairman Soaries' Statement Concerning the Statusof the November Presidential Election,'' 13 July 2004,[http://www.eac.gov/docs/Statement%20Concerning%20the%20November%20Election%20_%207-13-04%20_1.pdf].CRS-2To address those questions, this report discusses constitutional authority andfederal and state laws regarding the postponement of federal elections, as well asselected experiences with past elections, both in the United States and abroad. It alsodiscusses federal authority regarding the security of polling places, and federal effortsspecifically aimed at election security. It does not discuss broader efforts aimed atpreventing terrorist attacks or other questions regarding the administration orintegrity of the November 2004 election.In the United States, elections are administered by state and local governments.While Congress has limited power to regulate federal elections, it has rarelyexercised that authority except with respect to the question of enfranchisement ofvoters. However, in response to the problems arising from the November 2000election for President, Congress enacted the Help America Vote Act of 2002(HAVA). The act substantially enhanced the federal role in election administration,including the establishment of the EAC, a new, independent federal agency, toprovide support and guidance to state and local election officials. The EAC does not,however, have any regulatory authority. HAVA establishes requirements for votingsystems, voter registration, and other aspects of election administration. It does notspecifically address issues relating to election postponement or polling place security,although some constitutional provisions and earlier legislation are relevant.Election PostponementConstitutional Authority and Federal LawBasic questions relating to election postponement include who has theconstitutional authority to postpone elections, to whom could such power bedelegated, and what legal limitations exist to such a postponement.4 Congress hasauthority to regulate elections, and that authority may vary depending on whether theelection is for the Presidency, the House, the Senate, or for state or local offices.While the executive branch has significant delegated authority regarding someaspects of election law, that authority does not currently extend to setting or changingthe times of elections.Under a variety of possible scenarios that could arise as a result of a terroristattack before or during an election, either Congress or the states might passlegislation that would affect the timing of those elections. The executive branch doesnot currently have that power, but Congress may be able to delegate that authority tothe executive branch.Federal Elections. The authority to postpone an election would appear to bea natural corollary of the power to set the time for an election. The authority to set the4For more detailed information on this topic, see (name redacted),Executive BranchPower to Postpone Elections, CRS Report RL32471, 14 July 2004, and (name redacted),Postponement and Rescheduling of Elections to Federal Office, CRS Report RL32623, 4October 2004.CRS-3date of elections appears to derive principally from two constitutional provisions,Article I, §4, cl. 1, and Article II, §1, cl. 4. The text of the Constitution does notappear to contain a constitutional role for the executive branch in such decisions.The Supreme Court and lower courts have interpreted the language of ArticleI, § 4, cl. 1 to mean that Congress has extensive power to regulate most elements ofa congressional election.5 It would appear that Congress would therefore have broadauthority to postpone elections so as to account for emergency situations. AlthoughCongress has set the election date by statute, it would still appear to be withinCongress's power to postpone a House and Senate election.6While the power of Congress to regulate presidential elections is not asextensive as its power over House and Senate elections,7 Article II, §1, cl. 4 doesprovide that Congress may determine the ''time'' of choosing presidential electors.Although Congress does not have the explicit authority to regulate other aspects ofpresidential elections, case law does indicate that Congress may have powersextending beyond establishing the time of choosing the electors.8 The power ofCongress to protect the integrity of the presidential election, combined with itsauthority to set the time of election, would also seem to provide Congress the powerto postpone elections because of a national emergency.5285 U.S. at 366. See Roudebush v. Hartke, 405 U.S. 15, 24-25 (1972) (state's authorityto regulate recount of elections); United States v. Gradwell, 243 U.S. 476, 483 (1917) (fullauthority over federal election process, from registration to certification of results); UnitedStates v. Mosley, 238 U.S. 383, 386 (1915) (authority to enforce the right to cast ballot andhave ballot counted); In re Coy, 127 U.S. 731, 752 (1888) (authority to regulate conduct atany election coinciding with federal contest); Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U.S. 651, 662 (1884)(authority to make additional laws for free, pure, and safe exercise of right to vote); Ex parteClarke, 100 U.S. 399, 404 (1879) (authority to punish state election officers for violation ofstate duties vis-a-vis congressional elections). See also United States v. Simms, 508 F.Supp.1179, 1183-85 (W.D. La.1979) (criminalizing payments in reference to registration or votingdoes not offend Tenth Amendment); Prigmore v. Renfro, 356 F.Supp. 427, 430 (N.D.Ala.1972) (absentee ballot program upheld as applied to federal elections), aff'd, 410 U.S.919 (1973); Fowler v. Adams, 315 F.Supp. 592, 594 (M.D. Fla.1970), appeal dismissed, 400U.S. 986 (1971) (authority to exact 5 percent filing fee for congressional elections).6It would appear, however, that Congress could not postpone elections indefinitely, as theConstitution requires that Members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen ''everysecond year,'' U.S. Const. Art. I, § 2, cl. 1, and Senators shall be chosen for terms of ''sixyears.'' U.S. Const., Amend. XVII. See also U.S. Const. Amend. XX (specifying that theterms of the President and Vice-President shall end January 20th, and those of Senators andRepresentatives shall end January 3rd).7Despite modern state practice providing for popular voting for electors, the appointmentof presidential electors was historically and remains today a power of the state legislatures.For instance, a state would still retain the authority to use an alternative method of choosingpresidential electors besides popular elections.8For instance, the Supreme Court has allowed congressional regulation of politicalcommittees which seek to influence presidential elections, arguing that such legislation isjustified by the need to preserve the integrity of such elections. See Burroughs v. UnitedStates, 290 U.S. 534 (1934).CRS-4State Elections. Congress does not have general legislative authority toregulate the manner and procedures used for elections at the state and local level.Congress does have extensive authority under the Civil War Amendments,9 the 19thAmendment,10 the 24th Amendment,11 and the 26th Amendment12 to preventdiscrimination in access to voting, and it has exercised that power extensively overstate and local, as well as federal, elections.13 However, absent some relationship tothe issues addressed by these amendments, such as the postponement of a stateelection to deal with issues of discrimination, Congress would not appear to have theauthority to regulate the time of the state elections.Executive Branch Power. The executive branch does not appear tocurrently have the authority to establish or postpone the dates of elections at eitherthe federal or state level even in an emergency.14 The question arises, however,whether Congress could delegate power to the executive branch. Generally, underseparation of power doctrine, Congress may delegate power to the executive branchso long as it includes standards so that a court can ''ascertain whether the will ofCongress has been obeyed.''15 There is no apparent reason why this doctrine wouldnot extend to the power of Congress to set the time of national elections.16 Thus, as9U.S. Const., Amend. XIII (prohibiting slavery), Amend. XIV (due process and equalprotection) and Amend. XV (voting rights).10''The rights of citizens to vote shall not be denied . . . on account of sex.''11''The rights of citizens to vote . . . shall not be denied . . . by reason of failure to pay a polltax . . . .''12''The right of citizens . . . to vote shall not be denied . . . on account of age.''13See, e.g., Voting Rights Act of 1965, Pub. L. No. 89-110, 79 Stat. 437 (codified asamended at 42 U.S.C. §§ 1971, 1973-1973bb-1 (1992)). For background on the VotingRights Act, see (name redacted), The Voting Rights Act of 1965: A Legal Overview,CRS Report 91-736, 7 October 1991.14It is possible, however, that the executive branch could make decisions that would makeit difficult or impractical for a particular state or federal election to occur. For instance, avariety of situations could occur under which the executive branch might seek to limit themovement of citizens under its emergency powers. See Harold Relyea, National EmergencyPowers, CRS Report 98-505, 23 September. However, exercise of such power would notappear to have the legal effect of delaying an election, nor would it vest the executive branchwith the authority to reschedule the election. The legal resolution of an election duringwhich significant numbers of persons fail to reach the polls due to the actions of theexecutive branch is beyond the scope of this report.1516Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361, 379 (1989).See Skinner v. Mid-America Pipeline Co., 490 U.S. 212, 220-221 (1989). In Skinner, theCourt rejected the argument that the Taxing Clause, U.S. Const., Article I, § 8, cl. 1, shouldbe treated differently for purposes of delegation. ''We discern nothing in th[e] placement ofthe Taxing Clause that would distinguish Congress's power to tax from its other enumeratedpowers - such as its commerce powers, its power to 'raise and support Armies,' its powerto borrow money, or its power to 'make Rules for the Government' - in terms of the scopeand degree of discretionary authority that Congress may delegate to the Executive in orderthat the President may 'take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.''' But see Amy(continued...)CRS-5long as Congress set standards for the executive branch to implement such apostponement,17 it would appear that Congress could enact a statute delegating to theexecutive branch the authority to postpone an election.State LawsSome states have enacted statutes providing for the temporary postponement ofelections within their respective jurisdictions for various reasons. State laws vary,but an examination of a selection of state statutes may be instructive. Relevantstatutes are summarized for the following states: Florida, Georgia, Hawaii,Louisiana, Maryland, New York, and North Carolina. In the event of emergenciesor disasters, it appears that these laws might provide for the postponement of thegeneral presidential election within the state.18 In addition, examples of state statutesthat grant the Governor the power to suspend certain state laws during an emergencyare included. Although these statutes do not mention elections, they might be ableto be used to postpone the general presidential election in an emergency.Examples of State Statutes Regarding Emergency ElectionPostponementFollowing are summaries of selected state laws that provide a mechanism forthe postponement of certain elections. In the event of emergencies or disasters, itappears that these laws might provide for the postponement of the generalpresidential election within the respective state, its precincts, districts or counties:Florida. The Governor may, upon issuing an executive order declaring a stateof emergency or impending emergency, suspend or delay any election. Therescheduled election must be held within 10 days after the date of the delayedelection or as soon as practicable thereafter. FLA. STAT. § 101.101.733 (2004).Georgia. In the event the Governor declares that a state of emergency ordisaster exists pursuant to state law or a federal agency declares that a state ofemergency or disaster exists, the secretary of state is authorized to postpone the date16(...continued)Keller, ''Members Pan Election Idea,'' Roll Call, 13 July 2004) (quoting Yale Professor JackBalkin to the effect that Article II provides that Congress, not the executive branch, maydetermine the date of presidential elections).17Arguably, Congress would need to set standards for the cancellation of the existing dateand then for the institution of a new date. Failure to provide such direction would raiseissues of separation of powers. See Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417, 443-444(1998)(delegation standards requires establishment of triggering conditions, limiteddiscretion as to whether to implement; standards may not allow President to substitute hisown policy decision.)18For more detailed information, see (name redacted), State Election Laws: Overview ofStatutes Regarding Emergency Election Postponement Within the State, CRS ReportRS21942, 22 September 2004.CRS-6of any election in the affected area. The secretary of state shall exercise the powersgranted by this section of law carefully, and any such postponement or extensionshall not exceed 45 days. GA. CODE ANN. § 21-2-50.1 (2004).Hawaii. If the extent of damage caused by any natural disaster is such that theability of voters to exercise their right to vote is substantially impaired, the chiefelection officer may require the registered voters of the affected precinct(s) to voteby absentee ballot and may postpone the election in the affected precinct(s) for nomore than 21 days, provided that the postponement does not affect the election,tabulation or distribution of results for those precincts, districts, or counties notdesignated for postponement. HAW. REV. STAT. § 11-92.3 (2003).Louisiana. Upon issuance of an executive order declaring a state ofemergency or impending emergency, the Governor may suspend or delay anyelection. The Governor shall take such action only upon certification by the secretaryof state that such a state of emergency exists. As chief election officer of the parish,a clerk of the court may bring to the attention of the secretary of state any difficultiesoccurring in his parish due to natural disasters. If any delays or suspensions areauthorized by the Governor, the delayed election day shall resume or be rescheduledas soon thereafter as is practicable. LA. REV. STAT. § 18:401.2 (2004).19Maryland. In the event of a state of emergency, declared by the Governor inaccordance with law, that interferes with the electoral process, the emergencyproclamation may provide for the postponement, until a specific date, of the electionin part or all of the state. MD. CODE ANN. [Elections] § 8-103 (2003).New York. A county board of elections, or the state board of elections withrespect to an election conducted in a district in the jurisdiction of more than onecounty board of elections, may determine that, as the direct consequence of fire,earthquake, tornado, explosion, power failure, act of sabotage, enemy attack or otherdisaster, less than 25% of the registered voters of any city, town or village, or if thecity of New York, or any county therein, actually voted in any general election. Sucha determination shall be subject to approval by the state board of elections. If thestate board of elections makes such determination, it shall notify the board ofelections with the jurisdiction in that county that an additional day of election shallbe held. Thereafter, the county board of elections shall set a date for an additionalday for voting in the county, city, town or village affected by the statement, which19The Louisiana election emergency statute begins with the following statement offindings: ''Due to the possibility of an emergency or common disaster occurringbefore or during a regularly scheduled or special election, and inorder to ensure maximum citizen participation in the electoral processand provide a safe and orderly procedure for persons seeking toqualify or exercise their right to vote, to minimize to whatever degreepossible a person's exposure to danger during declared states ofemergency, and to protect the integrity of the electoral process, it ishereby found and declared to be necessary to designate a procedurefor the emergency suspension or delay and rescheduling of qualifying,absentee voting in person, and elections.'' LA. REV. STAT. § 18:401.2(2004).CRS-7shall not be more than twenty days after the original date of the general election. NY[Elections] LAW § 3-108 (Consol. 2004).North Carolina. The executive director, as chief state elections official, mayexercise emergency powers to conduct an election in a district where the normalschedule for the election is disrupted by any of the following: a natural disaster,extremely inclement weather, an armed conflict involving U.S. armed forces ormobilization of those forces, including the state National Guard and reservecomponents. In exercising those emergency powers, the executive director shallavoid unnecessary conflict with the provisions of this chapter of law. N.C. GEN.STAT. § 163-27.1 (2004).Examples of State Statutes Granting Emergency PowersSome states statutes authorize the Governor to suspend certain state laws in theevent of an emergency. While these statutes do not specifically mention elections,it might be possible for them to be used to postpone the general presidential election,within the respective state, its precincts, districts or counties, in the event of anemergency or disaster. While not an exhaustive list, the following summaries areprovided as examples of these types of state laws:In Arizona, the Governor has the power in a ''state of war emergency'' tosuspend statutory procedures for conduct of state business, or the orders or rules ofany state agency, to facilitate mitigation of the effects of the emergency.20 TheCalifornia Governor has similar powers for either a state of war emergency or a stateof emergency.21 Similar powers are afforded the Governor of Illinois in the event ofa declared disaster, for a period not to exceed 30 days,22 and to the Governor ofIndiana, with the proviso that the general assembly may terminate the state ofemergency at any time.23 The Governor of Michigan may exercise similar powersupon declaring a state of disaster or a state of emergency,24 as may the Governor ofTennessee.25 Texas and West Virginia have similar provisions.2620ARIZ. REV. STAT. ANN. §§ 26-303(A)(1), 301(15)(2004).21CAL. GOV'T CODE ANN. §§ 8571, 8558(a), (b)(2004).2220 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. § 3305/7(a), 3305/4 (2004)23BURNS IND. CODE ANN. §§ 10-14-3-12(a),(d); 10-14-3-1 (2004)24MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. §§ 30.405(1)(a); 30,402(e),(h)(2004).25TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 58-2-107; 58-2-101(4),(6)(2004).26TEX. GOV'T CODE §§ 418.016; 418.004(1)(2004); W. VA. CODE §§ 15-5-6(g); 15-5-2(h)(2004).CRS-8Examples from State ElectionsTo identify examples of election postponements, CRS conducted a text searchof digitized images of the New York Times and Washington Post 27 for the period1860 to 2004, supplemented by other sources including books and periodicals suchas Congressional Quarterly's Weekly Report. Several examples of postponements offederal primary elections or local elections were found.28 The reasons forpostponement included natural disasters, severe weather, and, in the case of theSeptember 11, 2001 New York primary election, a terrorist attack. No instance wasfound in which a general federal election was postponed or delayed, although it is notpossible to categorically rule out that possibility, especially for small areas, such asprecincts, where a weather event or a technical problem such as a power failure mayhave come into play. The examples described include instances in which electionseither have been or could have been postponed because of unusual circumstances inthe United States, as well as several illustrative cases from other countries.New York Primary Election on September 11, 2001. According to pressreports, elections officials in the New York City region began closing the polls bymid-morning on September 11, 2001. Newsday reported that the ''SuffolkDemocratic elections commissioner, who made the decision with Republicancounterpart Barbara Barci [said] 'we just looked at each other and decided this wasthe right thing to do.'''29 Barci cited Section 3-108 of the New York election lawgiving elections officials the power to postpone an election in the event of ''fire,earthquake, tornado, explosion, power failure, act of sabotage, enemy attack or otherdisaster.''30 Newsday further reported that the Nassau county elections commissioneralso closed the polls, because among other things, ''many school districts wereclosing their buildings, which would affect our polling places.''31 In the borough ofQueens, New York Supreme Court Justice Stephen W. Fisher issued an oral order themorning of September 11, 2001, calling off the election in New York City. Fisher,who had been previously appointed by the Chief Administrative Judge to ''handle allcitywide election-related issues, said he acted to preserve the 'integrity' of theelectoral process after being 'besieged' by telephone requests from the New YorkBoard of Elections and the campaigns of the four Democratic mayoral candidates.''32New York Governor Pataki signed an executive order about noon on September 11,27ProQuest Information and Learning Company maintains a database ''that contain[s]electronically scanned facsimile reproductions'' of materials including the historicalWashington Post and New York Times. Our search of this database covered the period from1860 to 2002.28This and the following two sections are drawn from David Huckabee, ''Deciding toPostpone Elections: Domestic and International Examples,'' CRS CongressionalDistribution Memorandum, 17 August 2004, available by request.29Rick Brand, ''Primary vote postponed statewide, Nassau and Suffolk among first tocancel,'' Newsday, 12 September 2001, p. W23.30Ibid.31Ibid.32''Primary Election Are Cancelled,'' New York Law Journal, 12 September 2001, p. 3.CRS-92001, halting the elections statewide,33 and the State Board of Elections notified localelections boards within 30 minutes of the Governor's order.34Initial reports of how the suspended primary would be conducted when votingresumed suggested that votes cast on September 11 would be counted. OnSeptember 11, 2001, the counsel for the state Republican Committee said that votescast before the election was stopped would count.35 This interpretation appears tocomport with New York election law regarding postponement of general elections(see above), which states in part, ''in any election district in which voting machineswere used upon the original day of voting, they shall be used for the additional dayfor voting. The original seal on such machines shall not be removed nor shall themachines be unlocked until the opening of the polls on the additional day for voting''(NY [Elections] LAW § 3-108(3)).The primary, rescheduled for September 24, 2001, was not treated like a generalelection, and votes cast on September 11 were not counted. On September 13, thelegislature and the Governor agreed to a new procedure in which ''any votes cast onSeptember 11th [would] not be counted, but all absentee ballots duly and properlycast'' would continue to be valid and counted on September 25, 2001.36On the eve of the rescheduled primary, the New York Times reported complaintsfrom many candidates that little had been done to publicize the new date, as well asconcerns about lack of voter awareness that votes cast at the polls on September 11would not be counted.37 Media sources also reported little or no post-9/11campaigning.The Gotham Gazette also reported problems in lower Manhattan for voters andcandidates on the rescheduled primary day. The city Board of Election's main officewas without telephones and electricity for a period after the attack, and there were nopolling places west of Broadway. To vote, persons who would have voted at thoselocations were required to request absentee ballots that had to be postmarked bySeptember 24, 2001.38Florida September 1, 1992 Primary Election (Hurricane Andrew).Dade County Florida Commissioners directed the county attorney to file a federallawsuit seeking to delay a statewide primary election because of extensive damage33George E. Pataki, State of New York Executive Order No. 113.1, 11 September 2001.34Ibid.35Ibid.36Governor George Pataki, ''Governor, legislature announce new primary election date,''Press Release, 13 September 2001. See also McKinney's 2001 Session Laws of New York,vol. 1 Chapt. 298 and vol. 2 Chapt. 298-LM.37Jonathan P. Hicks, ''Treading gingerly on the campaign trail,'' New York Times, Sept. 23,2001, p. A50.38Mark Berkey Gerard and Lara Naaman, ''New York's new primary day,'' 24 September2001, [http://www.gothamgazette.com/iotw/newelection], visited 15 July 2004.CRS-10resulting from Hurricane Andrew (which hit Dade County on August 24, 1992),because approximately 200 polling places in the county were ''inaccessible, badlydamaged or destroyed.''39The primary, scheduled for September 1, included local and state races as wellas U.S. House and Senate primaries. Governor Lawton Chiles had said he lacked thelegal authority to postpone the election, contradicting Florida secretary of state JimSmith who ''contended that Chiles' emergency powers gave him authority to delaythe election for up to a week.''40On August 29, at the request of county officials, Dade County Circuit JudgeLeonard Rivkind ordered that elections in the county be postponed a week.41 He alsoordered elections supervisors in seven other counties to seal the results in multicounty and statewide races until September 8, when the rescheduled Dade Countyprimary was to be held.42 Judge Rivkind's order to delay elections in Dade Countywas upheld by a unanimous Florida Supreme Court on August 31, but the court ruledthat the judge could not control elections supervisors in other counties, so his orderto seal the elections results in those counties was reversed. The New York Timesreported on September 1 that federal District Court Judge Michael Moore had nottaken action on the county's federal law suit,43 so the statewide primary was held onschedule.Conditions for voting in Dade County on September 8 varied widely. In theMiami area and northward, electricity had been restored by September 6, and mostbusinesses had reopened.44 But in the Homestead and Florida City area, whichreceived the brunt of the storm, thousands of people were living in school buildings45and approximately 30,000 National Guard and active-duty armed forces personnelwere assisting with the clean-up.46The military also assisted with the election by setting up temporary pollingfacilities in tents because numerous polling places had been destroyed by the39''County is filing suit in effort to postpone election in Florida,'' New York Times, 27August 1992, p. A14.40Tom Fiedler, ''Storm or no, election will be held [;] local officials' pleas to delay get noresponse,'' Miami Herald, 27 August 1992, p. 1B.41''September election delayed a week in storm-hit county,'' New York Times, 30 August1992, p. A22.42''Orderly voting amid chaos,'' Miami Herald, 1 September 1992, p. 38A.43''Florida's election to proceed,'' New York Times,1 September 1992, p. A13.44Deborah Sontag, ''Life on the fringes of ruin makes a cautious comeback,'' New YorkTimes, 7 September 1992, p. A1.4546''South Florida staggers to normality,'' New York Times, 8 September 1992, p. D13.''Most Florida storm victims regain power and water,'' New York Times, 13 September1992, p. E2.CRS-11hurricane.47 Active-duty personnel were not present at the polling places during theSeptember 8 primary election because of prohibitions on the use of troops at pollingplaces (see section on polling-place security below). Active-duty soldiers werebivouacked at one of the polling places, and the military kept the troops away afterhaving sought an advisory opinion from the U.S. Department of Justice.48Hawaii September 19, 1992 Primary Election (Hurricane Iniki) Heldon Schedule.Fewer than three weeks after Hurricane Andrew, a majorhurricane struck the Hawaiian island of Kauai on September 11, 1992. Kauaisuffered extensive damage from the hurricane to its older, lightly constructedbuildings and electrical power grid. The Hawaii National Guard helped civilianauthorities with the clean-up,49 and the guard played an important role in the primaryelection held in Kauai on September 19, 1992.According to Dwayne D. Yoshina, Hawaii's chief election officer, the state'sresponse to the devastation to the island of Kauai wrought by Hurricane Iniki wasgoverned by two main factors: First, the Lieutenant Governor, who was the state'schief election official, concurred with the election staff's philosophical approach thatthere was little that should cause an election to be postponed. Second, the primarydid not fall on the day of the hurricane, but came eight days later.Mr. Yoshina said that the election staff recommended to the LieutenantGovernor that normal conditions should be restored as soon as possible. Althoughdamage to Kauai was heavy, there were enough intact structures to hold elections.National Guard personnel assisted elections officials by delivering ballots anderecting tents to serve as emergency precincts where buildings were not usable.Kauai's centralized ballot counting facility was closed down because the island hadno electrical power, so the National Guard airlifted the ballots to Oahu to becounted.50Maine September 13, 1954 General Election (Hurricane Edna) HeldDespite Damage.In contrast the Hurricane Andrew experience, twohurricanes that struck the state of Maine prior to the 1954 general election causedextensive damage but did not cause an delay of the election.The 1954 general election in Maine for federal and state offices was held onSeptember 13.51 Two days earlier, Hurricane Edna had struck the state with 80-milean-hour winds and eight inches of rain, causing widespread destruction and eight47Associated Press, ''Hurricane-delayed election puts black woman in House,'' New YorkTimes, 9 September 1992, p. A14.48Thomas R. Lujan, ''Legal Aspects of Domestic Employment of the Army,'' Parameters,U.S. Army War College, autumn 1997, p. 83. Troops were kept away even though theprohibition is for general and special elections, not specifically primaries. Also, it does notapply to National Guard troops under state control.49Ibid., p. 82.50Telephone conversation with Dwayne D. Yoshina and Rex Quidilla, July 28, 2004.51Maine did not change its election day to conform with the rest of the nation until 1960.CRS-12deaths.52 Hurricane Edna had arrived two weeks after Hurricane Carol's 75-milewinds hit the state on August 31.53The New York Times reported on the eve of the election that newspapers inMaine ''were apprehensive'' over impacts of the storm on the election. Turnout hadbeen expected to be about 250,000 persons, but cleanup operations were expected tointerfere with voting. Also there were widespread power outages in the morepopulous southern Maine towns and cities,54 with many blocked roads andhighways.55Although widespread, the damage was apparently not serious enough to promptsuggestions to postpone the elections. Maine's early elections often engenderednationwide interest as commentators would speculate whether ''as Maine goes'' sowould the nation Thus, the New York Times reported that ''newspaper editors, too,were apprehensive lest election returns would be delayed by interruptions intelephone service.''56 The storm's impact on turnout apparently was minimal becausethe combined vote in the gubernatorial election was more than 248,000.57Other Weather-related Election Delays. Those found include eventswith localized and statewide impacts, for example:52!On November 5, 1965, Washington County Pennsylvania,suspended an election in eleven precincts because of floodingconditions.58!New Jersey postponed school board elections in February 1978because of a major snow storm.59''Eight dead in Maine; losses enormous,'' New York Times, 13 September 1954, p. 13.53John H. Fenton, ''Hurricane pelts Maine candidates,'' New York Times, 1 September 1954,p. 23.54''Eight dead in Maine,'' p. 13.55John H. Fenton, ''Voters of Maine go to polls today,'' New York Times, 13 September1954, p. 1.56Ibid.57John H. Fenton, ''Cross is blamed by Maine G.O.P.,'' New York Times, 15 September1954, p. 22.58''Pennsylvania court upholds emergency power to suspend, reschedule election.''Election Administration Reports, 26 October 1987, p. 3.59Joseph F. Sullivan, ''Crews clearing Jersey highways battle in vain against driven snow,''New York Times, 7 February 1978, p. 42.CRS-13!Elections were postponed in 49 counties by the Texas secretary ofstate in 1980 under the Governor's emergency authority because ofHurricane Allen.60!As a result of the extended clean-up effort required in the weeksafter Hurricane Hugo, officials in Isle of Palms, South Carolinasought to delay the November 7, 1989 municipal elections.61Foreign Elections Sometimes Held Under Difficult ConditionsResearch by CRS suggests that elections in other countries sometimes are heldunder conditions that might severely suppress turnout in the United States. Someexamples of foreign elections held in difficult conditions are described below.Colombia 1990. Colombians went to the polls in 1990, under a threat ofviolence from drug traffickers. Cesar Gaviria Trujillo, who ran on a strong anti-drugplatform, was elected after a nine-month campaign in which three presidentialcandidates had been killed, and after numerous bombings in public places.62Peru 1991. In 1992, the New York Times reported that Shining Path guerillaactivities had resulted in formation of peasant militias to counter the Shining Path'sbrutality. The Times reported that although the terrorists' activities had ''preventedvalid elections from being held in 42% of Peru's 498 electoral districts'' in 1991,those districts accounted for only 7% of the country's total population.63Cambodia 1993. In the weeks preceding the Cambodian election in 1993,many observers anticipated widespread violence at the polls.64 The six-day votingperiod, which began on May 23, was supervised by a 22,000-member U.N.peacekeeping force '-- reportedly the biggest peacekeeping operation in U.N.history.65 On the eve of the first day of voting, an opposition party headquarters hadbeen attacked with grenades, killing at least one man, prompting U.N. officials towarn that polling places might become the targets of the Khmer Rouge.66 By the endof the voting period, the New York Times reported that the Khmer Rouge, who hadopposed the election, had ''surprised United Nations officials by delivering thousands60''Hurricane travels toward Texas coastline,'' New York Times, 9 August 1980, p. 5.61''South Carolina coast spared from new dangers,'' New York Times, 18 October 1989, p.D28.62James Brooke, ''Strong drug foe wins in Colombia by a wide margin,'' New York Times,28 May 1990, p. A1.63James Brook, ''Roadblock on the Shining Path: angry peasants,'' New York Times, 26 May1992, p. A4.64Philip Shenon, ''Cambodia factions use terror tactics in crucial election,'' New YorkTimes, 10 May 1993, p. A1.65Philip Shenon, ''Hope and violence as Cambodian election begins,'' New York Times, 23May 1993, p. A1.66Ibid.CRS-14of Cambodians from territory under the rebels' control to vote in at least three of thenine provinces in which they have a sizable presence.''67 Despite the threats ofviolence, the Times reported estimates that more than 90% of Cambodia's 4.7 millioneligible voters had voted.68Bosnia 1996. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe(OSCE) postponed municipal elections in Bosnia twice in 1996 and once in 1997.The municipal elections set for September 14, 1996, were postponed ''because ofwidespread irregularities in registration,''69 but the general elections went on asscheduled under the supervision of the OSCE.70 Municipal elections were againpostponed in October 1996, ''because of 'continuing political problems inmunicipalities across Bosnia,'''71 and again in March 1997, ''in order to betterorganize teams of international monitors and to raise additional money to pay for theelection.''72 Bosnian municipal elections were held on September 13, 1997, underOSCE supervision and under the protection of NATO peacekeeping forces.73Taiwan, 1996. China conducted a series of missile tests and joint army andnaval exercises in March 1996, according to New York Times reporting, ''todiscourage aspirations for independence on [Taiwan] and to intimidate its 21 millionpeople in the two weeks before its first presidential election.''74 Although there wasno reported discussion of delaying the election, Beijing's military actions andcommuniques were widely regarded to be an effort to influence Taiwanese voters.75During this period of elevated tension between China and Taiwan, the United Statessent two aircraft carrier battle groups to the region.76The New China News Agency announced that ''from March 18 to 25, 1996, theChinese People's Liberation Army will conduct joint ground, naval and air exercises67''Khmer Rouge puzzle: softer strategy,'' New York Times, 28 May 1993, p. A3.68Ibid.69Mike O'Connor, ''In one town, delaying Bosnia vote is bitter news,'' New York Times, 29August 1996, p. A3.70Chris Hedges, ''Bosnia holds vote with few reports of real violence,'' New York Times,15 September 1996, p. A1.71Chris Hedges, ''Bosnia municipal elections face new postponement as Serbs balk,'' NewYork Times, 23 October 1996, p. A1.72Philip Shenon, ''Municipal elections again postponed in Bosnia,'' New York Times, 7March 1997, p. A4.73Chris Hedges, ''Bosnians vote, but animosity is unrelenting,'' New York Times, 14September 1997, p. A1.74Edward A. Gargan, ''With Taipei vote two weeks away, Beijing steps up its pressure,''New York Times, 8 March 1996, p. A1.7576Ibid.Seth Faison, ''China says Taiwan election shows that voters oppose separation from themainland,'' New York Times, 24 March 1996, p. A16.CRS-15in and over the sea area'' in the northwest Taiwan Strait.77 The New York Timesreported on March 17, 1996 that ''since the first missile landed just north of theTaiwanese port of Keelung, China has vilified ... [Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui],accusing him of harboring desires for independence and urging Taiwan's voters toreject him in the voting booth.''78 That strategy was apparently not successful,because Lee Teng-hui received 54% of the total votes cast in the election. The Timesreported that ''Beijing appeared to achieve the opposite of its intended result. ManyTaiwan voters rallied to Mr. Lee, they said, precisely because China threatened soblatantly.''79Factors Governing Decisions to Postpone ElectionsThe domestic and international examples of elections that were eitherpostponed, or held under difficult conditions, suggest there may be circumstanceswhere a general election might be postponed in the United States. Congress, intheory, could exclude Members who had not been elected on the first Monday afterthe first Tuesday in November, through its Constitutional power to examine thecredentials of its Members provided by Article 1 §5, cl. 1. Although there areexamples of Members being seated who were elected in general elections held ondays other than the day set by statute, no cases were found where Congress has failedto seat a delegation that was elected on a different day.80Congress and the courts historically have allowed states some flexibility inconducting federal elections, despite uniform election day requirements. Thefollowing examples suggest that postponing an election for a catastrophic eventwould not necessarily lead to controversy.The Uniform Election Day in November. When a uniform election dayfor Congress was established in 1872,81 several states did not adhere to the new law.In 1878, a New York Times editorial listed West Virginia, North Carolina, California,and Colorado as states seeking exemptions to uniform election day requirement.82In 1875, Congress included a ''grandfather'' clause granting states a possibleexemption from the uniform election day requirement in an omnibus appropriations77Patrick E. Tyler, ''China says maneuvers will last through Taiwan's elections,'' New YorkTimes, 16 March 1996, p. A5.78Edward A. Gargan, ''In Taiwan, few admit to worries about China,'' New York Times, 17March 1996, p. A4.79''China says Taiwan election,'' p. A16.80See U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, United States SenateElection, Expulsion and Censure Cases from 1793 to 1990, Doc. No. 103-33, 103rd Cong.,1st session, by Anne M. Butler and Wendy Wolf, and House of Representatives Exclusion,Censure and Expulsion Cases from 1789 to 1973, Joint Committee on CongressionalOperations, Committee Print, 92rd Cong., 1st session.812 U.S.C. §7.82Untitled Editorial, New York Times, 11 June 1878, p. 4.CRS-16act.83 This provision apparently was the basis for Maine's September generalelections for Congress. The state adopted the November national election day in1960.84 The laws establishing the same November election day for appointingpresidential electors had no similar exemptions for states with different electiondays.85Louisiana's Open Primary. Louisiana adopted a unique ''open primary''system that became effective for the 1978 election. The open primary was held inOctober of general election years. All candidates, regardless of their party affiliation,appeared on the same ballot. If no candidate received a majority of the vote in arace, a run-off election was held between the two candidates receiving the most voteson the federal general election day in November. This Louisiana practice ended in1997, by court, not congressional, action.In 1997, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held that Louisiana's open primaryviolated the law requiring congressional elections to be held on the national electionday.86 In dicta, however, Justice Souter's opinion for the court appeared to recognizea state might be permitted to deviate from the requirements in some circumstances.A footnote provides that ''this case thus does not present the question of whether aState must always employ the conventional mechanics of an election. We hold todayonly that if an election does take place, it may not be consummated prior to a federalelection day.''87Early Voting. State and federal law has long provided for voting before thenational uniform federal election day for voters who expect to be absent on electionday, citizens residing outside the United States, and U.S. armed services personnel.The requirements for obtaining absentee ballots have become very easy in manystates in recent decades.83See ''An act making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of the Government for thefiscal year ending June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and seventy-six, and for other purposes,''18 Stat. 371. Section 6 provides, ''that section twenty-five of the Revised Statutesprescribing the time for holding elections for Representatives to Congress, is herebymodified so as not to apply to any State that has not changed its day of election, and whoseconstitution must be amended in order to effect a change in the day of the election of Stateofficers in said State.'' 18 Stat. 400.84''Maine elects to go with rest of nation,'' New York Times, 10 September 1957, p. 1.855 Stat. 721 provides ''that the electors of President and Vice President shall be appointedin each State on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November of theyear in which they are to be appointed: Provided, That each State may by law provide forthe filling of any vacancy or vacancies which may occur in its college of electors when suchcollege meets to give its electoral vote: And provided, also, when any State shall have heldan election for the purpose of choosing electors, and shall fail to make a choice on the dayaforesaid, then the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such manner as theState shall by law provide.''86Foster v. Love, 522U.S. 67 (1997).87Ibid, note 4.CRS-17For example, voters in Oregon approved a ballot measure in 1998 directingelections to be conducted by mail, replacing traditional polling-place elections.Ballots are automatically sent to each registered voter two weeks prior to an election.The ballots can be returned by mail or in person, but they must be received by 8:00pm on election night.88 In Oregon, therefore, the November general election date isthe end of an election period, not a single day as envisioned in federal law. Oregonis the only state that has essentially eliminated the traditional precinct-based pollingplace, but most states have liberalized their laws so voters may vote early if theychoose to do so.Early voting often incorporates a combination of liberal absentee votingregulations, which allow voters to request absentee ballots without meeting specificrequirements such as absence from home, with special polling places (often open formany days) that may include traditional polling places, such as schools, as well asnontraditional locations, including shopping malls.The Texas early voting program was challenged in 2000 as a violation of theuniform election day statute (2 USC §7). The Voting Integrity Project, Inc. andseveral Texas registered voters had failed to convince a U.S. District Court thatTexas's practice permitting unrestricted early voting in federal elections waspreempted by general election day requirements of federal law. The U.S. Court ofAppeals for the Fifth Circuit concluded, ''because the election of federal officials inTexas is not decided until Texas voters go to the polls on federal election day, weconclude that the Texas early voting scheme is not inconsistent with federal electionlaws.''89 Certiorari was denied when the case was appealed to the U.S. SupremeCourt.90A Federal Election May Be Postponed Because of the Voting RightsAct. Although completing the election process before the November generalelection day has not found favor in the courts, under certain circumstances, courtshave recognized that a federal general election may be postponed. In 1981, the stateof Georgia adopted a congressional redistricting plan that was not sanctioned by theU.S. Attorney General pursuant to §5 of the Voting Rights Act.91 The state's revisedredistricting plan was eventually approved, but the approval came so late in 1982 thatthe Attorney General objected to the election schedule because it would not allow theparties to field candidates who would have enough time ''for voters 'to make areasoned selection among candidates' [thus the schedule] 'would impact unfairly onblack voters of the Atlanta area.'''92The scheduling problem was still unresolved when the matter came before theU.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on August 24, 1982 '-- ten weeks88Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, Voting in Oregon, [Pamphlet] 10 February 2000.89Voting Integrity Project v. Bomer. 199 F.3d 773, 774 (5th Cir. 2000).90Cert. denied, Voting Integrity Project v. Bomer. 199 F.3d 773, 774 (5th Cir. 2000), 530U.S. 1230, (2000).9142 U.S.C. §1973c.92Busbee v. Smith, 549 F. Supp. 521 (1982).CRS-18before the general election scheduled for November 2, 1982. Georgia had arguedthat 2 U.S.C. §7 required the state to adhere to the uniform national election day, soa primary had been scheduled for the Atlanta congressional districts (numbers 4 and5) for August 31, with the general election to follow on November 2The District Court rejected Georgia's argument, because (1) the provisions ofthe Voting Rights Act would prevail because it was enacted later than the statutesetting a uniform election day; and (2) 2 USC §8 recognized that there might be afailure to elect a Representative on the prescribed general election day because, theremight be ''a vacancy, whether such vacancy is caused by a failure to elect at the timeprescribed by law, or the by the death, resignation, or incapacity of a person elected[emphasis in §8 excerpt added by the District Court].''93 The District Court opinedthat ''although the 42nd Congress could not have anticipated a 'failure to elect'engendered by a section 5 injunction, interpreting that phrase as encompassing sucha failure does no violence to Congress' intent.''94 The case, Busbee v. Smith, wasappealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which affirmed the district court's decisionwithout an opinion.95In contrast to Justice Souter's dicta in Foster v. Love, 522 U.S. 67 (1997), notedabove, recognizing the possibility that there might be circumstances where statesmight deviate from the ''conventional mechanics'' of the electoral process, the districtcourt's dicta 15 years earlier more specifically addressed the possibility ofpostponing elections for disasters. Judge Edwards noted ''by way of analogy,Congress did not expressly anticipate that a natural disaster might necessitate apostponement, yet no one would seriously contend that section 7 would prevent astate from rescheduling its congressional elections under such circumstances.''96The Civil War Amendments. Implementation by Congress of the 14th and15 Amendments provides examples of its reluctance to entertain credentialchallenges to state delegations because state laws or practices may violate federallaw. Section 2 of the 14th Amendment has an enforcement provision that, had it beenused, might have significantly changed civil rights history in America. Section 2provides, in part:thWhen the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President andVice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executiveand Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, isdenied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years ofage, and citizens of the United Sates, or in any way abridged, except forparticipation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shallbe reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bearto the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State[emphasis added].93Ibid., p. 525.94Ibid., p. 526.95459 U.S. 1166 (1983).96Busbee v. Smith, p. 526.CRS-19Despite the disenfranchisement of African Americans in the South afterReconstruction, no state ever had its representation in the House of Representativesreduced by this provision.97 Congress eventually enacted the Voting Rights Act of1965 to address the disenfranchisement of African Americans that occurred in theregion during the last quarter of the 19th century and continued until the 1960s.98Concluding Observations About Election PostponementThe presumption that elections are held on schedule in the United States is astrong one. The fact that federal elections were held in the United States during theCivil War,99 and every other war, declared or undeclared, since that time is oftencited as a rationale for the principle that federal elections should not be postponed.The postponements discussed above suggest, however, that there are events that maycause election administrators to consider interrupting or postponing a general electionregardless of that presumption. These include peril to life and extensive damage toinfrastructure. The examples suggest that if a state or locality decided that acatastrophe required the interruption or postponement of the general election for thePresidency and Congress, Congress would tend to accept the delay, so long as therescheduled elections were held before the date in December when the electoralcollege casts its ballots, and the beginning of the next Congress, respectively. If acatastrophic event were to occur on election day, state and local officials in theaffected areas might do as the Suffolk County New York elections officials did onSeptember 11, 2001. They could ''decide ... this [is] the right thing to do,''100 andpostpone the election.Reliance on modern technology may make elections potentially more vulnerableto disruption today than in the past. When Hurricane Dora struck Georgia in 1964,the New York Times reported that ''voters finished casting ballots in the Georgiaprimary election by the light of hand flashlights.''101 Maine's voters were able to castballots in the 1954 general election even though there were widespread poweroutages. Hand-counted paper ballots and lever machines require no electricity.Today's electronic voting systems may fail without a reliable electrical supply '--even though most have battery back-ups. Electricity is also used for counting ballotsand performing other election-administration tasks. For example, an estimated 80%of votes in 2004 will be counted with the aid of computers. Thus, a major97An effort to not seat the entire Mississippi delegation, because of the disenfranchisementof African American voters, failed at the beginning of the 89th Congress when the Houseadopted H.Res. 1, providing for administering the oath to the Mississippi Representatives.An election contest based on the same premise also did not succeed. See U.S. Congress,House, Deschler's Precedents, H. Doc. 94-661, 94th Cong., 2nd session, vol. 2, Chapt. 8 §5.6,p.864.98Congress implemented this section of the 14th Amendment in 1872. See 2 U.S.C. §6.99However, federal elections were held only in states that had not sought to secede fromthe Union.100101Brand, ''Primary vote postponed.''Associated Press, ''Hurricane lashes two Florida cities,'' New York Times, 10 September10, 1964, p. 1.CRS-20interruption of the electrical power in a state or region may require the postponementof an election, depending on when the outage occurred, how long it lasted, and whatvoting systems were in use. The relative size of the electorate underscores thereliance on technology, as large numbers of voters could be affected by technologyfailures, and voting by paper ballot may no longer be an option in densely populationareas. In 1952, about 62 million voters cast ballots in the presidential contestcompared with 105 million in 2000; the transition to faster, more efficient votingmethods was driven largely by the growth of the electorate, as well as longer ballots(initiatives and referenda, for example), language requirements, and the desire forspeed in reporting results.Security at the Polling PlaceThere are about 180,000 voting precincts in the United States.102 Just aselections are administered by state and local governments, it is also generally theresponsibility of those governments to provide security at the polling places for thoseprecincts.The use of the military for domestic purposes has been a concern since thecolonial period. After the Civil War, laws were enacted limiting the role of U.S.military forces in domestic activities. The best known is the Posse Comitatus Act of1878.103 However, a law enacted a decade earlier, in 1865, specifically prohibits theuse of the military at the polls except in the event of an attack:Whoever, being an officer of the Army or Navy, or other person in the civil,military, or naval service of the United States, orders, brings, keeps, or has underhis authority or control any troops or armed men at any place where a general orspecial election is held, unless such force be necessary to repel armed enemiesof the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more thanfive years, or both; and be disqualified from holding any office of honor, profit,or trust under the United States. This section shall not prevent any officer ormember of the armed forces of the United States from exercising the right ofsuffrage in any election district to which he may belong, if otherwise qualifiedaccording to the laws of the State in which he offers to vote.104102Data are from the Election Reform Information Project [http://www.electionline.org] andElection Data Services [http://www.electiondataservices.com]. The number of precincts isnot identical to the number of polling places. In particular, in some cases, more than oneprecinct may be accommodated by a single polling place.103For more information, see Jennifer Elsea, The Posse Comitatus Act and Related Matters:A Sketch, CRS Report RS20590, 19 May 2003; and (name redacted),The Posse Comitatus Act& Related Matters: The Use of the Military to Execute Civilian Law, CRS Report 95-964,1 June 2000.10418 USC §592. The original statute also permitted military personnel to ''to keep peaceat the polls'' (13 Stat. 37). Military and civilian government employees are also expresslyprohibited from interfering in elections by other sections of this title (18 USC §§593 '--595).CRS-21Whether this statute applies to the National Guard, as well as federal troops, maydepend on whether Guard units are serving under the authority of state Governors orthe President.105State and local laws regarding police at polling places vary. For example, inPennsylvania, police are required to remain at least 100 feet from a polling placeunless summoned.106 By contrast, in New York City, at least one police officer isassigned to each polling place.107 Public opinion regarding police presence alsovaries, with some tension between those who believe that it enhances security andtherefore facilitates voting, and those who believe that it can intimidate voters andsuppress turnout.To assist states in security planning in the context of the terrorist threat, theNational Association of Secretaries of State and the National Governors Association,in collaboration with other organizations and consultation with the U.S. Departmentof Homeland Security (DHS), have prepared a general guide for state electionsecurity planning.108 It recommends that states create a planning team consisting ofkey policymakers with security, response, and election responsibilities. The teamshould identify reactions to a range of scenarios, including the current situation,raised threat levels, and incidents both before and on election day. Contingencyplans for those scenarios should address specific issues relating to communicationand coordination, authority and responsibility, and public information. The authorsstress that such planning is important not only with respect to possible terroristattack, but also in the event of natural disasters impacting the election.The question of the level of risk of terrorist attack associated with the November2 election has been the subject of some controversy.109 The reactions of state andlocal officials have varied, with some intending to make as few visible changes aspossible and others planning to increase police presence or even move pollingplaces.110105Doyle, CRS Report 95-964, p. 41 '-- 43.10625 P.S. § 3047.107NY [Elections] LAW § 8-104(6).108National Association of Secretaries of State and others, Overview: Election SecurityPlanning for States, 24 September 2004, available at[http://www.nass.org/Security%20Planning%20Guide.pdf].109See, for example, Spencer S. Hsu and Jo Becker, ''Election Day Anti-Terrorism PlansDraw Criticism,'' Washington Post, 6 October 2004; David Johnston and Don Van Natta,Jr., ''Little Evidence of Qaeda Plot Timed to Vote,'' New York Times, 23 October 2004.110Jason B. Grosky, ''Town May Cut Most Polling Places,'' The Eagle-Tribure, 22September 2004; Kevin Johnson, ''Election Warning Causes Anxiety,'' USA Today, 7October 2004, p. A12; Michael D. Shear, ''Terror Threat Complicates Election Plans inRegion,'' Washington Post, 15 October 2004, p. A1.CRS-22Impact of Early and Absentee VotingAn increasing number of states permit voters to cast ballots in person beforeelection day (early voting) or to mail in ballots (absentee voting) without providinga specific, approved reason (this is sometimes called ''no excuse'' voting).111Increasing numbers of voters have been casting ballots using these alternativesystems in recent elections, and that trend is expected to continue. Use of them canmitigate concerns about security, in at least two ways. First, it can reduce the impacton the election of any attack or other emergency that would affect polling places. Forexample, Oregon votes entirely through mail-in balloting, so there are no pollingplaces to attack.112 Second, to the extent that it reduces the number of voters who goto the polls, it can make providing security for them much easier. It is not clearwhether security concerns among voters will cause higher numbers than usual to usethese alternative methods in the current and future elections.Options for CongressWhether Congress considers taking any actions to enhance election security maydepend to significant degree on events associated with the November 2004 electionor elections in other industrialized nations. However, some observers argue thateven in the absence of any immediate problems, consideration of legislative optionswould be prudent given both the likelihood that concerns about terrorist attacks willcontinue and that natural disasters are always possible on or near election day, amongthem weather events such as major storms, and earthquakes or volcanic eruptions.Among the options Congress might consider are the following:Take No Action. State and local jurisdictions, after all, have primaryresponsibility for elections under the U.S. system of government. While HAVAgives the federal government some specific responsibilities in electionadministration, it gave the new agency it created, the EAC, no regulatory authority.As described in this report, states already have considerable authority to providesecurity for elections and to postpone them if necessary. HAVA also arguablyconcentrates responsibilities for election administration at the state as opposed to thelocal level of government. In the absence of specific problems requiring a federalsolution, it may be most appropriate to not attempt to modify those responsibilities.It can also be argued that a decentralized approach enhances security in that itcan make targeting by terrorists more difficult and provide a broader range ofdefenses than a centralized approach. In addition, Congress could respond to anyspecific emergency after the fact, as New York state did after September 11, 2001,111According to the Election Reform Information Project, 35 states currently practice earlyvoting, and 25 permit ''no excuse'' absentee voting, with 23 providing both (electionline.org,Election Preview 2004: What's Changed, What Hasn't, and Why, 19 October 2004,[http://www.electionline.org/site/docs/pdf/2004.Election.Preview.Final.Report.pdf]).112Presumably, counting locations could still be targets, but they are generally not publicareas and would be much easier to secure.CRS-23and that might permit the most effectively tailored response. However, adecentralized approach can itself create problems in at least two ways. First, theresultant diversity of procedures can lead to variations in vulnerability that potentialattackers might identify and exploit. Second, it can make effective coordinationmore difficult in the event of a national emergency related to an election.Delegate Authority for Safeguarding Elections to the ExecutiveBranch. As discussed earlier, Congress may be able, within constitutional limits,to delegate authority to the executive branch to postpone an election in response toan emergency. Further, Congress could direct the executive branch to assist statesin providing security for elections through the EAC, DHS, or even the military.However, since security of the polling places has traditionally been controlled bystate and local authorities, the degree to which the Constitution would allowCongress to direct or supplant these functions may be at issue. To the extent suchactions are constitutionally permissible, they could create the capability of quick,decisive response in the case of a threat or attack. However, such an approach wouldlikely also raise concerns about the risk of politicization of such actions and theconcentration of executive power over a central component of the machinery ofdemocracy.Treat Security as an Aspect of Continuity of Government. Someobservers have proposed that elections are essentially an element of criticalgovernment infrastructure and as such should be considered as part of the developingframework to ensure continuity of government (COG) and continuity of operations(COOP) in the event of a crisis or emergency.113 However, so far, electionadministration has been at best a peripheral element of legislative discussion aboutsuch a framework.Provide Mechanisms for Improved Coordination among States onElection Security. The guidelines issued by the National Association ofSecretaries of State and other organizations urge coordination within states andbetween individual states and the federal government. One option for congressionalaction would be to provide either the EAC or DHS with specific capability andresponsibility to facilitate coordination among states on election security, withoutproviding authority to the agency for such security. In the case of the EAC, suchcapability would presumably be in keeping with the Commission's currentresponsibilities as a clearinghouse for information about election administration.Encourage Early Voting and Absentee Voting. If all ballots in theUnited States were cast by mail, there would of course be no need for polling placesecurity. If the time over which votes are cast were sufficiently spread out, thepotential for impact of a specific event on an election would be lower. Since boththese forms of voting are increasing in the United States, Congress might consider113For information about COG and COOP , see (name redacted), Continuity of Operations(COOP) in the Executive Branch: Background and Issues for Congress, CRS ReportRL31857, 31 March 2004; and (name redacted), Continuity of Government: CurrentFederal Arrangements and the Future, CRS Report RS21089, 3 June 2004.CRS-24encouraging that increase to facilitate election security. However, these methods ofvoting are not without problems. Some argue that early voting can significantlychange the nature of elections by effectively spreading election day over severalweeks. Such changes, some say, may not be beneficial in sum. Absentee ballotinghas also been criticized as being more vulnerable to fraud and abuse than voting inperson. Nevertheless, such concerns might be addressed through measures targetedto meet them.None of the options discussed above appears to be without potential problemsand concerns. The 109th Congress may chose to examine these issues more closelyto determine what, if any, legislative action should be taken.EveryCRSReport.comThe Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a federal legislative branch agency, housed inside theLibrary of Congress, charged with providing the United States Congress non-partisan advice onissues that may come before Congress.EveryCRSReport.com republishes CRS reports that are available to all Congressional staff. Thereports are not classified, and Members of Congress routinely make individual reports available tothe public.Prior to our republication, we redacted names, phone numbers and email addresses of analystswho produced the reports. We also added this page to the report. We have not intentionally madeany other changes to any report published on EveryCRSReport.com.CRS reports, as a work of the United States government, are not subject to copyright protection inthe United States. Any CRS report may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety withoutpermission from CRS. However, as a CRS report may include copyrighted images or material from athird party, you may need to obtain permission of the copyright holder if you wish to copy orotherwise use copyrighted material.Information in a CRS report should not be relied upon for purposes other than publicunderstanding of information that has been provided by CRS to members of Congress inconnection with CRS' institutional role.EveryCRSReport.com is not a government website and is not affiliated with CRS. We do not claimcopyright on any CRS report we have republished.
Bull Connor - Wikipedia
Fri, 31 Jul 2020 01:41
Theophilus Eugene ''Bull'' Connor (July 11, 1897 '' March 10, 1973) was an American politician who served as Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham, Alabama, for more than two decades. He strongly opposed the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Under the city commission government, Connor had responsibility for administrative oversight of the Birmingham Fire Department and the Birmingham Police Department, which also had their own chiefs. Connor was a Democrat.
Connor enforced legal racial segregation and denied civil rights to black citizens, especially during the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Birmingham campaign of 1963. He became an international symbol of institutional racism. Bull Connor directed the use of fire hoses and police attack dogs against civil rights activists; child protestors were also subject to these attacks. National media broadcast these tactics on television, horrifying much of the country. The outrages served as catalysts for major social and legal change in the Southern United States and contributed to passage by the United States Congress of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Early life Edit Connor was born in 1897 in Selma, Alabama, the son of Molly (Godwin) and Hugh King Connor, a train dispatcher and telegraph operator. He entered politics as a Democrat in 1934 winning a seat in the Alabama House of Representatives. As a legislator, he supported populist measures and pro-union issues for white people. He voted for extending the poll tax, which served as a barrier to voter registration by poor blacks and whites, and against an anti-sedition bill intended to stifle union activity. He did not stand for a second term in 1936, instead running for Commissioner of Public Safety for the City of Birmingham. Concurrently during this period, Connor served as the radio play-by-play broadcaster of the minor league Birmingham Barons baseball club spanning the 1932 through 1936 seasons. Willie Mays remembered listening to him call games: "Pretty good announcer, too, although I think he used to get too excited."
Commissioner of Public Safety (1936''1954, 1957''1963) Edit In 1936, Connor was elected to the office of Commissioner of Public Safety of Birmingham, beginning the first of two stretches that spanned a total of 26 years. His first term ended in 1952, but he was re-elected in 1956, serving to 1963.
In 1938, Connor ran as a candidate for Governor of Alabama. He announced he would be campaigning on a platform of "protecting employment practices, law enforcement, segregation and other problems that have been historically classified as states' rights by the Democratic party".
In 1948, Connor's officers arrested the U.S. Senator from Idaho, Glen H. Taylor. He was the running mate of Progressive Party presidential candidate Henry Wallace, former Democratic Vice President. Taylor, who had attempted to speak to the Southern Negro Youth Congress, was arrested for violating Birmingham's racial segregation laws. Connor's effort to enforce the law was caused by the group's reported communist philosophy, with Connor noting at the time, "There's not enough room in town for Bull and the Commies."[citation needed ]
During the 1948 Democratic National Convention, Connor led the Alabama delegation in a walkout when the national party included a civil rights plank in its platform. The offshoot States' Rights Democratic Party (Dixiecrats) nominated Strom Thurmond for president at its convention in Birmingham's Municipal Auditorium.
Connor's second run for governor fell flat in 1954. He was the center of controversy that year by pushing through a city ordinance in Birmingham that outlawed "communism."
Civil rights era Edit Before returning to office in 1956, Connor quickly resumed his brutal approach to dealing with perceived threats to the social order. His forces raided a meeting at the house of African-American activist Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, where three Montgomery ministers were attending. He feared that the Montgomery Bus Boycott that was under way would spread to Birmingham, in an effort to integrate city buses. He had the ministers arrested on charges of vagrancy, which did not allow a prisoner bail, nor any visitors during the first three days of their incarceration. A federal investigation followed, but Connor refused to cooperate.[citation needed ]
Shuttlesworth had led civil rights activities despite being threatened with violence. His church was bombed twice. He, his wife, and a white minister were attacked by a racist mob after attempting to use "white" restrooms at the local bus station, which had segregated facilities.[citation needed ]
In 1960, Connor was elected Democratic National Committeeman for Alabama, soon after filing a civil lawsuit against The New York Times for $1.5 million. He objected to what he claimed was their insinuation that he had promoted racial hatred. He dropped his claim for damages to $400,000; the case dragged on for six years until Connor lost a $40,000 judgment on appeal.
Freedom Riders Edit In the spring of 1961, integrated teams of civil rights activists mounted what they called "Freedom Rides" to highlight the illegal imposition of racial segregation on interstate buses, whose operations came under federal law and the constitution. They had teams ride Greyhound and Trailways buses traveling through southern capitals, with the final stop intended as New Orleans. The teams encountered increasing hostility and violence as they made their way deeper into the South.
On May 2, 1961, Connor had won a landslide election for his sixth term as Commissioner of Public Safety in Birmingham. As Commissioner, he had administrative authority over the police and fire departments, schools, public health service, and libraries, all of which were segregated by state law. Tom King, a candidate running for mayor of Birmingham, met with Connor on May 8, 1961, to pay his respects. In addition, he asked him to refrain from announcing support for the other leading mayoral candidate, Art Hanes, so that King's chances would be greater. At the end of the meeting, Connor noted that he was expecting the Freedom Riders to reach Birmingham the following Sunday, Mother's Day. He stated, "We'll be ready for them, too," and King responded, "I bet you will, Commissioner," as he walked out.
After a stop in Anniston, Alabama, the Greyhound bus of the Freedom Riders was attacked. They were offered no police protection. After they left town, they were forced to stop by a violent mob that firebombed and burned the bus, but no activists were fatally hurt. A new Greyhound bus was placed into service and departed for Birmingham. The activists on the earlier Trailways bus had been accosted by KKK members who boarded the bus in Atlanta and beat up the activists, pushing them all to the back of the bus.
The Freedom Riders arrived in Birmingham on May 14, 1961. As the Trailways bus reached the terminal in Birmingham, a large mob of Klansmen and news reporters was waiting for them. The Riders were viciously attacked soon after they disembarked from the bus and attempted to gain service at the whites-only lunch counter. Some were taken to the loading dock area, away from reporters, but some reporters were also beaten with metal bars, pipes, and bats and one's camera was destroyed. After 15 minutes, the police finally arrived, but by then most Klansmen had left.
Connor intentionally let the Klansmen beat the Riders for 15 minutes with no police intervention. He publicly blamed the violence on many factors, saying that "No policemen were in sight as the buses arrived, because they were visiting their mothers on Mother's Day". He insisted that the violence came from out-of-town meddlers and that police had rushed to the scene "as quickly as possible." The violence was covered by national media.
As I have said on numerous occasions, we are not going to stand for this in Birmingham. And if necessary we will fill the jail full and we don't care whose toes we step on. I am saying now to these meddlers from out of our city the best thing for them to do is stay out if they don't want to get slapped in jail. Our people of Birmingham are a peaceful people and we never have any trouble here unless some people come into our city looking for trouble. And I've never seen anyone yet look for trouble who wasn't able to find it.
In 1962, Connor ordered the closing of 60 Birmingham parks rather than follow a federal court order to desegregate public facilities.
In November 1962, in response to the extremely negative perception of the city -- it was derisively nicknamed "Bombingham" by outsiders for the numerous attacks on the homes and churches of black civil rights activists -- Birmingham voters changed the city's form of government. Rather than an at-large election of three commissioners, who had specific oversight of certain city departments, there would be a mayor-council form of government. Members of the city council were to be elected from nine single-member districts. Blacks were still largely disenfranchised. For instance, in 1961 when the president of the city's Chamber of Commerce was visiting Japan, he saw a newspaper photo of a bus engulfed in flames, which occurred during the Freedom Rides. Bull Connor had arranged for opponents to have time to attack civil rights activists when their bus reached Birmingham.
Endorsed by Governor George C. Wallace, Connor attempted to run for mayor, but lost on April 2, 1963. Connor and his fellow commissioners filed suit to block the change in power, but on May 23, 1963, the Supreme Court of Alabama ruled against them. Connor ended his 23-year tenure in the post. Citing a general law, he had argued that the change could not take effect until the October 1 following the date of the election, but the Supreme Court of Alabama held that the general law was preempted by a special law applicable to only the City of Birmingham.
Birmingham campaign Edit Local civil rights activists had been unable to negotiate much change with the city or business leaders, in their efforts to gain integration of facilities and hiring of blacks by local businesses. They invited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his team to help mount a more concerted campaign. The day after the April election, Dr. King and local civil rights leaders began "Project 'C'" (for "confrontation") against the Birmingham business community. They used economic boycotts and demonstrations to seek integration of stores and job opportunities. Throughout April 1963, King led smaller demonstrations, which resulted in his arrest along with many others.
King wanted to have massive arrests to highlight the brutal police tactics used by Connor and his subordinates. (By extension, the campaign was intended to demonstrate the general suppression by other Southern police officials as well). After King was arrested and jailed, he wrote his Letter from Birmingham Jail, which became noted as a moral argument for civil rights activism. The goal of the campaign was to gain mass arrests of non-violent protesters and overwhelm the judicial and penal systems. It would also demonstrate to national media and local residents the strong desire of African Americans to exercise their constitutional rights as citizens.
Children's Crusade Edit In the final phase of Project C, James Bevel, SCLC's Director of Direct Action, introduced a revolutionary and controversial new tactic of using young people in the demonstrations. Most adults were working and could not afford to take off. On May 2, 1963, the first youths and students walked out of the 16th Street Baptist Church and attempted to march to Birmingham's City Hall to talk to the Mayor. By the end of the day, 959 children, ranging from ages 6''18, had been arrested.
The next day, even more students joined the marches, against whom Connor ordered the use of fire hoses and attack dogs. This did not stop the demonstrators, but generated bad publicity for Connor through the news media. The use of fire hoses continued and by May 7, Connor and the police department had detained more than 3,000 demonstrators.
The blacks' economic boycott of businesses that refused to hire them and downtown stores that kept segregated facilities helped gain negotiation by the city's business leaders. The SCLC and the Senior Citizens Committee, who represented a majority of Birmingham businesses, came to an agreement. On May 10, they agreed on desegregation of lunch counters, restrooms, fitting rooms, and drinking fountains at department stores, the upgrading in position and hiring of blacks, cooperation with SCLC legal representatives in releasing all detainees, and the establishment of formal communication between black and whites through the Senior Citizens Committee.
Later life and death Edit On June 3, 1964, Connor resumed a place in government when he was elected President of the Alabama Public Service Commission. He suffered a stroke on December 7, 1966, and used a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He was present on February 16, 1968, when the Haleyville, Alabama, police precinct made the first use of 9-1-1 as an emergency telephone number. Months later, Connor won another term, but was defeated in 1972.
He suffered another stroke on February 26, 1973, which left him unconscious. He died a few weeks later, in March of that year. Survivors included his widow, Beara, a daughter, and a brother, Edward King Connor.[citation needed ]
Legacy Edit Connor's brutality and tolerance for violence against civil rights activists contributed to Ku Klux Klan and other violence against blacks in the city of Birmingham. On a Sunday in September 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing destroyed a portion of the church basement causing the death of four African-American girls. The church was known as the center of civil rights activities in Birmingham. The city and movement leaders had just reached a negotiated agreement on integration of facilities and jobs. The deaths of the children prompted the Attorney General Robert Kennedy to call Governor George Wallace and threaten to send in federal troops to control violence and bombings in Birmingham.
Connor is mentioned in contemporary folk singer Phil Ochs's 1965 song "Talking Birmingham Jam".Spike Lee's documentary 4 Little Girls (1997) (about the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, includes footage of Connor and interviews with people describing police tactics during his tenure).Footage of Connor also appears in the film Our Friend, Martin, in which he is voiced by veteran voice artist Frank WelkerConnor is cited by name in the film Selma as an example of a particular type of bullying public official and police officer whose tolerance, or encouragement, of violence towards Civil Rights campaigners plays into the hands of the media-conscious SBLC and Martin Luther King.References Edit ^ "Eugene "Bull" Connor - Encyclopedia of Alabama". Encyclopedia of Alabama. ^ "Eyes on the Prize", including video of Connor, PBS ^ "Connor's Tank Returns to Birmingham" Archived 2013-01-11 at Archive.today, NBC 13 ^ a b Baggett, James L. (October 12, 2009). "Eugene "Bull" Connor". Encyclopedia of Alabama . Retrieved February 18, 2011 . ^ , Encyclopedia of Alabama ^ Kestenbaum, Lawrence. "The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Connor". politicalgraveyard.com. ^ Baggett, James L. "Eugene 'Bull' Connor." Encyclopedia of Alabama. ^ Brands, Edgar G., "Broadcasts of Game Blanket America",The Sporting News (St. Louis, Mo.), April 23, 1936, p. 2 ^ Mays, Willie (1988). Say Hey: The Autobiography of Willie Mays. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 30. ISBN 0671632922. ^ Goluboff, Risa (2016-01-25). Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of the 1960s. ISBN 9780190262273. ^ "How 'Communism' Brought Racial Equality To The South". ^ J. Barton Starr, "Birmingham and the 'Dixiecrat' Convention of 1948," Alabama Historical Quarterly 1970 32(1''2): 23''50 ^ http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.428.4376&rep=rep1&type=pdf ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1973/03/11/archives/eugene-bull-connor-dies-at-75-police-head-fought-integration-less.html ^ a b Baggett, James. "Eugene "Bull" Connor". Encyclopedia of Alabama. March 9, 2007. April 7, 2011.< http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/face/Article.jsp?id=h-1091> ^ Nunnelley, William. Bull Connor. Tuscaloosa and London: The University of Alabama Press, 1991, p. 93. ^ Arsenault, Raymond. Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 154. ^ Terry Gross, "Get On the Bus: The Freedom Riders of 1961", 12 January 2006; accessed 10 January 2017 ^ Dierenfield, Bruce. The Civil Rights Movement. Great Britain: Pearson Education Limited, 2004. ^ a b Nunnelley, William. Bull Connor. Tuscaloosa and London: The University of Alabama Press, 1991, p. 154. ^ Connor v. State, 275 Ala. 230, 153 So. 2d 787 (1963). ^ a b "Segregation at All Costs: Bull Connor and the Civil Rights Movement", YouTube, 8 Apr 2011 ^ Nunnelley, William. Bull Connor. Tuscaloosa and London: The University of Alabama Press, 1991, p. 157. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1973/03/11/archives/eugene-bull-connor-dies-at-75-police-head-fought-integration-less.html ^ "Eugene 'Bull' Connor Dies at 75", Associated Press, March 11, 1973 Further reading Edit Nunnelley, William A. (1991) Bull Connor. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-8173-0495-9Connor v. State ex rel. Boutwell, 275 Ala. 230, 153 So. 2d 787 (1963) (decision of the Supreme Court of Alabama holding that the City of Birmingham could change from a commission form of government to a mayor-council form of government and thereby unseat Connor).External links Edit Photographs of Connor at the Birmingham Public LibraryBull Connor on IMDb