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Tie Not A Tie: Council decides that tie gave Brewer one vote more than Maxfield

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

These headlines in the May 23, 1907 issue of the “Wyoming Observer,” published in Saratoga, portrays a controversial election and vote count. The newspaper reports:

The city election was not altogether what some anticipated. The decision of the council was not as some of the members thought it should be, judging from views expressed by them. The decision was not a surprise to any one, especially to those present, who were attentive to the actions of the majority it was plain to see the outcome.

The town clerk had already notified the two men to appear on Saturday night at the town hall at 8:30 p.m. at which time and place a tie vote was to be decided. They were there, the poll book was in Rawlins – a move unnecessary, and the canvas could not be had. Adjournment to Monday night at 8 o’clock, when they again had the book in their hands, but in some manner, and apparently at Rawlins, a technicality was found in the scoring by fives in the Brewer column, which, if correct, gave him one vote to go on. The judges had compared their books with the ballots counted, and their totals had balanced.

Those examining the book, at least a good number of them, expressed their opinion that it was a clerical error, a false stroke of the pen or the pen had run out of ink and the pressure had caused the points to spread, making two feint lines instead of one as intended. Some of the council seemed to think they could not go back of the judge’s total count, having their oath for the correctness of the count.

To settle the matter, Councilman Price made a motion that J.B. Eager and John C. Brewer, having received the highest number of votes, be declared elected. The motion carried.

We now have C.C. Hickok to wield the big stick as mayor and his cabinet of councilors consist of John W. Cluff, C.R. Brenner, John B. Eager and J.C. Brewer.

The political ring rule method seemed to permeate the heart and brain of some who were so afraid of losing control of the affairs of the town. This control is taken into business, to the detriment of the business interests of the town. It is used personally and socially to the detriment of the citizens. The political bosses know full well that with a town united in business, its people united on all other lines for the good of the community and the up-building of the town and community, means without dispute a popular convention for the nomination of town officers, and with this their political controlling power is gone and they are merely political relics of the past.

Many people oppose a centralized government. Some of our best writers tell of its evils to a nation and a commonwealth. It is considered ruinous. It places the control of affairs in too few hands. In the election just closed the appointments made by Mayor Hickok on the night of his qualification are:

C.S. Taylor to succeed himself as marshal; George Broadhurst remains clerk, and J.F. Crawford will handle the wealth of the town.

Editorial comment in the same issue of the paper declared:

A man remarked on the street Monday night that a man who stole a coat or a sheep was sent to the pen for five years. The man who committed murder stood a mighty good show of acquittal, but the man who stole a town council should draw a premium. We wish to ask who is at fault, the man or the council?

Today, as in 1907, your vote does count. Be sure to exercise that right, no matter how painful it seems in 2016.

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