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Saturday, November 11, 2006

November 11, 1960: Republican Official Asks for Multi-State Vote Recount, Nixon Distances Himself from Effort

Republican National Committee Chairman Thruston Morton today asked party officials in Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas to take legal action leading to vote recounts. Nixon would need 51 electoral votes from these states as well as a victory in California, where votes continued to be counted.

Vice President Nixon distanced himself from the recount drive, saying he had abandoned his attempt to win the presidency. He said he knew nothing of Morton's actions. Nixon was in Florida with his family, traveling to Key Biscayne. Nixon press spokesman Herbert Klein said "We ran a race, the votes have been cast and we accept the decision," adding that there was only "a mathematical possibility" of victory.

President-elect Kennedy was also vacationing in Florida, where he said he would work to achieve controlled disarmament.

Meanwhile, Mississippi's eight unpledged electors decided to use their votes to try and block the election of Sen. John F. Kennedy. They said they would vote for neither Kennedy nor Nixon. "At the moment the vote in two large states is so close that we still cherish the hope that we might yet succeed in the great cause for constitutional government," said Governor Ross Barnett, referring to California and Illinois. If Kennedy were to lose Illinois and California he would have 273 electoral votes, four more than needed for election.

"Any southern state then joining Mississippi in casting its electoral votes for a third man would block the election and throw it into the House, where each state gets one vote," the Associated Press wrote in a story to be distributed tomorrow. "Five of Alabama's electors are pledged to Senator Kennedy and six are unpledged. ... The Governor asked electors of other southern states, some of whom are not bound by law to support the party nominee, 'to reappraise their positions with the full knowledge that they have it within their power to join with us and save their people from imminent social and economic chaos.' ...

"The unpledged electors hoped the election would be so close that no candidate could win without Mississippi's help. They would then trade their votes for civil rights concessions, or work for the election of a compromise candidate."

Kennedy added 8,000 votes to his lead over Nixon in the popular vote. Kennedy is now ahead by 278,832 votes out of 66,975,626 counted, or 50.2 percent of the votes cast for the two major parties. "Though the popular vote was almost even, and still could conceivably shift to Mr. Nixon, the vice president's chances of capturing a majority of the electoral college still seemed remote," a New York Times story prepared for publication tomorrow said.

"The Associated Press tabulation showed [Kennedy] had unofficially carried 22 states with 300 electoral votes, 31 more than than he needed to win. Moreover, Mr. Kennedy still led by a reed-slim margin in California, with 32 electoral votes. ... In Missouri Senator Kennedy's lead dwindled to 22,175 votes ... with all but five of the state's 4,371 precincts counted.

"The unofficial tally was 925,081 for Senator Kennedy and 902,906 for Mr. Nixon. The counting of the absentee votes began yesterday in some counties but was not expected to be completed until next week. ... [T]he state Republican chairman said it was conceivable that the absentee count might give the state to Mr. Nixon. In ... Illinois, latest returns indicated that Mr. Kennedy would probably hold a lead of about 6,000 over Mr. Nixon. Of only 13 precincts that have not yet reported, 11 ware in Chicago, where Mr. Kennedy's vote was heaviest."

In St. Louis, the local chapter of the Missouri Restaurant Association approved the serving of Negro customers.

In New Orleans plans were advanced by two days for a special session of the legislature to block school integration.

In Alabama, the state attorney general defied a federal court order and refused to surrender voting records to "the civil rights mob in Washington."

In South Vietnam the rebellion against President Ngo Diem collapsed after heavy fighting.

In Leopoldville, the Congo, United Nations troops opened fire in the face of rioting over the Army's arrest of Cleophas Kamitau, a supporter of deposed Premier Patrice Lumumba.

In Laos, a key army officer abandoned the neutralist government and shifted his loyalties to the pro-Western Rightists.

In Algeria, thousands of young men who favored a "French Algeria" fought with police.