The following editorial was written by a retired police officer and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today
WASHINGTON, DC- With all the talk about mail-in ballots, it is important that we not only look at today’s climate, but also examine history. While most of the rioters participating in “demonstrations” across the country would like to erase history, as would most Democrats, history is instructive.
The saying is, “those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it.” Or some incarnation thereof.
If we take the time machine back to 1864, President Abraham Lincoln was seeking reelection. Of course, as people who took history before the 2000’s know, the United States was embroiled in the Civil War at that time…the war between the states.
The election of 1864 was likely the most important election in our nation’s history; or at least up until 2020. That election was going to have a tremendous impact on the outcome of the Civil War. Lincoln and his supporters of the National Union Party, the precursor to the Republican Party, were looking to continue the war and put down the Confederacy once and for all.
The opposing party, anti-war Democrats who were also referred to as Copperheads, were looking for an immediate compromise with the Confederacy and an end to the abolitionist movement.
The Washington Post reported on a similar movement with a push for mail-in voting for the election of 1864. In April of that year, the New York legislature had established a mail-in voting system, intending to ensure the right to vote of Union troops battling the Confederate Army.
Orville Wood, a merchant from Clinton County in New York was a supporter of President Lincoln. His job was to visit troops from his hometown to ensure that the “local ticket” was taken care of.
At that time, troops from New York were able to authorize people from back home to cast a vote in their stead. The process was that in addition to mail-in ballots, troops would give power of attorney on slips requiring four signatures; the voter’s, the person authorized as a recipient, a witness to the signed affidavit and a fellow officer.
The documents would be sealed in an envelope and sent back home, intended to be counted in the final vote. Wood intended to uphold that process. Or at least that was the intent.
The 91st New York Regiment was at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, where Wood was to collect the soldier’s ballots. When he arrived, an Army captain told him that there had been some so-called “checker playing” with the mail-in ballots when they were collected.
That wasn’t the only inclination that something was wrong. The suspicions of some type of fraud was intimated when Wood visited wounded soldiers at the Newton University Hospital. Wood then went to the office of Moses Ferry in Baltimore.
Ferry was tasked with overseeing the voting process for New York’s enlisted men by the governor of New York, Horatio Seymour. Seymour voted against the initial bill establishing mail-in voting. He would eventually run against General Ulysses S. Grant in the 1868 presidential election
Wood “played dumb” when he went into Ferry’s office, disguising the fact that he was in fact a Lincoln supporter. Rather, he acted as if he was a strong George McClellan supporter. McClellan was of course Lincoln’s opponent in the election. Wood believed he needed to do this to gain Ferry’s trust, he would later testify.
When Wood received the votes from Ferry, his suspicions only grew. Ferry told him that the 91st Regiment ballots had already been tallied; 400 for McClellan and 11 for Lincoln.
Ferry instructed Wood to forge signatures of the 16th New York Cavalry, which he did. In the meantime, a clerk sat across the room signing ballots form a roster of names which wood had brought from home.
While Wood asked to personally deliver the fraudulent ballots, Ferry told him they would have to gain final approval from a colleague of his, a man named Edward Donahue Jr.
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Wood met with Donahue in Baltimore and what he found out was mind-boggling. He learned that there were around 20 co-conspirators working on a plot to deliver votes to McClellan.
The ruse continued the next day, with blank papers being signed with all manner of names: active enlisted, wounded, and dead soldiers, and officers who never even existed.
That wasn’t all. Aside from the shenanigans in Washington and Baltimore, Wood found that New York was also involved in the ruse. In a nutshell, Donahue had received rosters of soldiers from military officials, as well as members of law enforcement. He also received tickets and a list of names or actual Columbia County, New York residents, which he was told were “now members of the 128th Regiment.”
The scheme ran far and wide. A letter was received from a sheriff in Albany, with the promise to send additional men to help in Baltimore. The letter read:
“All is well here, and we are confident of complete success. It is unnecessary to say that all here have entire confidence in your skill and abetting and hope you like your help.”
The thing is, they were not even subversive about it. Ferry’s office contained a list with some 400 names of sick and wounded soldiers undergoing treatment in a nearby hospital. Ferry joked, referring to the roster that:
“Dead or alive, they all had cast a good vote”
The conspirators found the process to be a joke, with some even mocking the expected outcry “from abolitionist newspapers following the corruption of the election.” They bragged about previously rigging elections back home.
Wood, to his credit likely changed history. Despite Ferry and Donahue having shipped fraudulent votes back to New York, Wood reported the voting fraud scheme to authorities. A search of Ferry’s office confirmed Wood’s story and just two weeks before the 1864 election, Donahue and Ferry stood trial before a military commission.
While Ferry fully confessed to the scheme, even naming some co-conspirators, Donahue was not so easy to flip.
At the time, after the first day of the trial, a reporter for the New York Times wrote:
“The honest electors of the state of New York have escaped an extensive and fearful fraud, a fraud in keeping with the proclivities of the party in whose behalf it was initiated, but one that, if unexposed might have subverted the honest will of the people and left the state and the nation at the mercy of those who would make peace with rebellion and fellowship with traitors.”
Numerous arrests followed throughout New York and Washington. Wood testified against Donahue, and with mounds of supporting evidence, Donahue decided to beg for mercy. He had never been arrested in his life and was a newlywed. He finally acknowledged that there was overwhelming evidence against him, and the chip on his shoulder disappeared.
In addressing the military tribunal, the judge advocate noted that Donahue had engaged in a tremendous fraud against America—“a fraud which, if it shall be successful, will, in my opinion, have produced a disruption of our entire country, and our war for the preservation of the Union will be practically at an end and futile.”
Despite Lincoln’s overwhelming victory—he defeated McClellan 221 to 21—anti-abolitionist newspapers of the era attacked the legitimacy of Lincoln’s victory, claiming that it was Lincoln—not his detractors—who perpetrated a conspiracy to cement his reelection.
Ferry and Donahue were sentenced to life in prison for their attempt to interfere in the 1864 election by mail fraud. President Lincoln, who only had months before he would be assassinated, approved of the sentence.
While the facts and circumstances surrounding the 1864 election are different than today, the elections are similar in their importance. The reelection of Lincoln was important in that had he lost, the outcome of the Civil War would have been vastly different, and so too would have the history of our country.
Under present circumstances, we are in a similar situation. We have seen the rule of law thrown out the window across the country, with not one high-profile Democrat speaking out against the violent riots taking place in city after city. That is but one of many situations facing our country.
Do we want to maintain our status as a representative Republic, or do we want to slide toward socialism? You have one candidate who will not leave his Delaware home and campaign in public, while you have the president who is out there every day, doing his job as president but also going out and meeting with Americans, not hiding.
Democrats are pushing…hard…for mail-in voting. Not absentee ballots, which are given out by request, but widespread mail-in ballots. Why? Fraud.
They want to be able to throw the election into chaos. It will be the tails I win, heads you lose scenario. If Trump wins, Democrats will claim voting interference if they don’t get their money for the post office. They will tie the election up in court until they get the results they want. Why do you think Biden has hired 600 lawyers? You think the 2000 election was screwed up?
What happens if the president loses? If it’s close, would anyone blame him if he didn’t contest the election results?
The mail-in balloting scheme is nothing less than an attempt by Democrats to implement Cloward-Piven…create chaos. They are using COVID-19 as a convenient excuse to demand mail-in ballots, despite the fact that according to the “science,” wearing masks and maintaining social distancing eliminates exposure to COVID.
Fraud of mail-in ballots was tried once before…and exposed. What’s the definition of insanity again?
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