John M. Langston vs. E. C. Venable * 1890
The returns in this ward gave Venable 352, Arnold 160, and Langston 139 votes, a plurality in favor of Venable over Langston of 213. In this ward the negroes have a large majority, and the evidence shows that they were active and united supporters of contestant [Langston]. The contestant placed upon the stand 283 witnesses, each of whom swears that he is a qualified and duly registered voter of the Sixth ward, and that he voted for the contestant on November 6, 1888. Each one was cross-examined by counsel for contestee [Venable]. This clearly shows that the poll must be rejected and the parties left to other evidence than the falsified returns to establish their vote. The judges appointed in May for this ward were all political opponents of contestant, and all served.
Not a vote was challenged on either side during the day of the election. Although the colored voters at this precinct stood to the white voters in the ratio of nearly three to one, Mr. Akers and his associates thought it fair to put up in front of the polls a barrier to separate the negroes from the whites in two lines, one upon the right hand and the other on the left hand, and then to receive the ballots from each side alternately, a white man's ballot, and then a negro's ballot; and so on throughout the day, unless some colored man who wished to vote the white men's ticket could get permission to fall in in the line of whites. The plain consequence of enforcing such a rule is evidenced by the fact that out of 265 registered white voters, all voted except 14; and out of 709 registered colored voters, there were 308 (nearly half) who did not vote.
Consequently, when the polls were closed at sunset there stood in line at the door of the polling-place 124 Republican voters with Langston ballots open in their hands, anxious to vote, and denied their right of suffrage.