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wanting to vote for Lincoln

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  • "What is to prevent me from Voting for Lincoln"
  • "What is to prevent me from Voting for Lincoln"
John M. Smith, of Giles County, wanted to vote for Abraham Lincoln for president in September 1860, but because there was "a great deal of threatning on the part of Slave holders in regard to poor men excerciseng the elective franchise," he asked the governor what to do.
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    Republican ballot 1860
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"What is to prevent me from Voting for Lincoln"

John M. Smith to Governor John Letcher, September 23, 1860, Executive Papers of John Letcher, Acc. 36787, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.

John M. Smith, of Giles County, wrote the governor of Virginia in September 1860, "I would like to Know from you what is to prevent me from Voting for Lincoln. as he is the man I prefer. the reason of this letter is that there is a great deal of threatning on the part of Slave holders in regard to poor men excerciseng the elective franchise." There is no record that the governor answered his letter, which the governor's clerk docketed, "Jno M Smith asking to be protected in casting his vote in the Presidential election for Lincoln." There is no surviving official return from Giles County, but all of the published election records indicate that the officers of election reported no votes for Abraham Lincoln in the county.

John M. Smith to Governor John Letcher, September 23, 1860, Executive Papers of John Letcher, Acc. 36787, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.

Giles, Court House Virginia
September 23. 1860
Sir
As the Presidential election is approaching I would like to Know from you what is to prevent me from Voting for Lincoln. as he is the man I prefer. the reason of this letter is that there is a great deal of threatning on the part of Slave holders in regard to poor men excerciseng the elective franchise and as I am a law abideng citizen and has paid my taxes to the commonwealth of Virginia every year and performed all the duties and complied with all the obligations imposed on me I think it hard if I should be prevented from excersiseing the wright of suffrage that other men do in selecting any one of the four candidates before the people for the office of President of the United states as my choice. and if I go to the Ballot Box and present my ticke in a peacably way whether it will be received as the tickets of the other three men I hope you will direct the commissioners through out the Stat to receive all peacable citizens votes that may be offered please answer this soon as I wish to have no difficulty now nor on the day of the election I wish merly to have the privilege of casting my vote for the man I prefer and nothing more
Yours
JOHN M SMITH
John M. Smith to Governor John Letcher, September 23, 1860, Executive Papers of John Letcher, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va.