Box 13 Scandal
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Box 13 Scandal

The Box 13 scandal occurred in Alice, Texas during the Senate election of 1948.[1]Lyndon B. Johnson was on the verge of losing the election and yet six days after polls had closed, 202 additional ballots were discovered in precinct 13, which swung the election decisively in Johnson's favor. He had been in a tight race with Coke Stevenson and they were in the middle of a run-off. Stevenson was about 854 votes ahead of Johnson during the run-off. Stevenson was even ahead by midday, but after the discovery of the additional ballots, 200 additional votes for Johnson were discovered, leading to his victory by 87 votes out of 1 million voters.[1]

Who was involved

Adams became very suspicious of this and he went to check it out. Adams noticed that the last 200 ballots were all very different. Some of them had different color ink, new names were in alphabetical order, and the handwriting appeared to be identical. Adams had a judge who he was friends with start an investigation and Johnson had Abe Fortas, a friend of his, to come in and help with the legal plans during this investigation. The biggest question that needed to be answered was, did Johnson go to his friend George Parr, a member of the Democratic party in Texas and ask him to help him out.[1]

The aftermath

The investigation went all the way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court Justice, Hugo Black, ruled that the federal government was not allowed to get involved with a state election. This ruling was able to seal the fate of the election. Johnson won the election and the one thing no one could figure out is if Johnson spoke with George Parr, in South Texas that day, which resulted in box 13 having 200 ballots that were missed and gave Johnson the victory.[1]


After everything was over, some may have thought consequences would be inevitable.[2] That is not the case in this scenario. Since Johnson won the election, there would be no charges and nothing was able to be proven that Johnson actually had the box stuffed.[1] Pulitzer Prize winning author Robert A. Caro covered the Box 13 scandal in astounding detail. About one half of Caro's 500-page book, The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Means of Ascent, was devoted to the 1948 Texas Senatorial election. [3] The book does not cover Johnson's entire life; it covers his rise in the U. S. Congress.


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Mystery of Ballot Box 13". Washington Post. March 4, 1990.
  2. ^ "How Johnson won the Election He'd Lost". New York Times. February 11, 1990.
  3. ^ Robert A Caro, Lyndon Johnson, Means of Ascent, (New York, Vintage Books, 1990).

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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