Liveblogging the Civil War False Claims Act: Combating voter fraud in the 1862 election

by Ben Vernia | November 7th, 2012

Allegations of voter fraud are, of course, nothing new, but they came up in the 1862 congressional election. The draft was then well under way, but aliens were exempt, and so men reluctant to serve sometimes filed sworn statements that they were foreign nationals. As the New York Times reported on the eve of the 1862 election:

Fraudulent Voters.
At every voting place in the City to-day a policeman will stand, all day long, with a list in his hand of the names of all persons who have sworn themselves to be aliens. If any man of this class presents himself to vote, he will instantly be arrested for having criminally attempted to evade the draft. There are seventeen thousand persons in the City who, in order to escape the draft, have sworn that they are aliens. It will not be safe for any one of these to be found interfering with the elective franchise. The result will be a quiet poll, and a considerable deficit in the Seymour vote.

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