In his second attempt at the Senate in 1948, Lyndon Johnson narrowly defeated Coke Stevenson in the Democratic primary when a box with 202 votes, largely in favour of LBJ, was found late in the counting. In the aftermath, Stevenson accused LBJ of having stolen the election and made unsuccessful attempts to overturn the result. There were allegations also surrounding earlier elections - Ross S. Sterling unsuccessfully charged Ma Ferguson with fraud in the 1932 Democratic gubernatorial primary and LBJ's first Senate attempt in 1941 was thwarted when his early lead was overturned due to late returns favouring W. Lee O'Daniel.

What actions were taken by the Democratic Party or by lawmakers to ensure that electoral fraud did not affect subsequent Texas elections?

  • 3
    These allegations are controversial, and should probably not be presented as cold facts. You may want to rephrase things a bit.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented May 3, 2013 at 1:35
  • No worries. I've tried cleaning up a bit. Please edit if you think there are still problems.
    – lins314159
    Commented May 3, 2013 at 4:47
  • Means of Ascent, volume 2 of Robert Caro's extraordinary The Years of Lyndon Johnson tells the story around LBJ's 1948 victory in great detail. Never will I forget the (alleged) role of Brown & Root, a latter-day Halliburton subsidiary ...
    – Drux
    Commented May 3, 2013 at 5:03
  • Bad question: No evidence has been brought proving there was indeed fraud - simply allegations, which is very common in close elections. So the question is baseless: Mere allegations by a loser in an election by no means mandate any action whatsoever.
    – user2590
    Commented Aug 3, 2013 at 5:46

2 Answers 2


Surprisingly, there does not seem to be a lot of information online about what changes took place after the 1948 election. This is probably because what little I could find suggests that not much changed. Texas has a history of distrust of centralized authority, and so strong local control over elections was the norm in 1948 and continued to be the norm after the election.

The most immediate consequence was a reworking of the Texas election code which went into effect in 1951. The new law was a balance between state level executive authority and local control over election results. That election law did "provide for listing of the candidates of one party by another in general elections." The law was subsequently repealed in 1955.

In sum, although the election of 1948 garnered substantial national attention very little substantive reform to prevent future election fraud was enacted.


Any substantial reform of the endemic corruption engaged in by both major parties, from Atlanta to the Pecos, would most likely of resulted in vastly larger number of Blacks being able to vote. Prior to the Civil Rights era ushered in during the Kennedy administration, this was not a result desired by either party (in the South). In consequence, neither party was much interested in reforming the corruption, just in making political capital of catching the other side out from time to time.

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