About this book
Waiting for the Cemetery Vote begins with an overview chapter of Arkansas election fraud since the nineteenth century and then moves on to more specific examples of fraudulent activities over a dozen or so years that coincide with the onset of the modern progressive era in Arkansas.
Author Tom Glaze, who was a trial lawyer battling election fraud during this time, is the ideal chronicler for this topic, bringing a memoirist’s intimate insight together with a wealth of historical knowledge.
Glaze describes the manipulation of absentee ballots and poll-tax receipts; votes cast by the dead, children, and animals; forgeries of ballots from nursing homes; and threats to body or livelihood made to anyone who would dare question these activities or monitor elections. Deceptive practices used to control election results were disturbingly brazen in the gubernatorial elections in the 1960s and were especially egregious in Conway and Searcy Counties in the 1970s and in special elections for the state senate in Faulkner, Conway, and Van Buren Counties.
A clean-election movement began in the early 1970s, led not by party or political leaders but by individual citizens. These vigilant and courageous Arkansans undertook to do what their public institutions persistently failed to: insure that elections for public office were honest and that the will of the people was scrupulously obliged. Prominent and colorful among these groups was a small band of women in Conway County who dubbed themselves the “Snoop Sisters” and took on the long-established corrupt machine of Sheriff Marlin Hawkins.
Written with longtime Arkansas political writer Ernie Dumas and illustrated with cartoons from the inimitable George Fisher, Waiting for the Cemetery Vote will be an entertaining and informative read for any Arkansas history and politics buffs.
About the contributors
Tom Glaze was a member of the Arkansas bar for forty-four years, the first twelve as a trial lawyer battling vote fraud and the last twenty-two as an associate justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Ernie Dumas is a columnist for the Arkansas Times and former associate editor and reporter for the Arkansas Gazette.
George Fisher was a political cartoonist who worked for various Arkansas newspapers, most notably the Arkansas Gazette and Arkansas Times, from the 1940s until his death in 2003.
“Glaze certainly knows how to tell a good story. This memoir includes a fascinating cast of characters from Governor Orval E. Faubus and Conway County sheriff Marlin Hawkins to Alidene Malone, Dixie Drilling, and the rest of the Conway County women who fought to end corruption in their county. The frequent inclusion of political cartoons by George Fisher from contemporary Arkansas newspapers further spices up what is already a shocking tale of electoral chicanery, intimidation, and outrageously brazen fraud.”
—Andrew C. Baker in The Journal of Southern History
“Judge Tom Glaze’s memoir of ballot-box rascality a generation back is a stupendous narrative of how officials, mostly Democratic, connived, padded, and stole the votes they needed, and how at least a few of them were brought to book.”
—Mark Wahlgren Summers in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly
“Tom Glaze has written a spirited and captivating memoir of his courageous days in the sixties and seventies combating election fraud in Arkansas. His passionate and focused campaign to rid the state of election chicanery, particularly as practiced by Sheriff Marlin Hawkins in Conway County, and his success in doing so with the help of several brave women, proves that one person can make a difference.”
—Justice Robert L. Brown