Tuesday, May 3, 2011

NEWSPAPER TIDBIT: Middle Township Trustee Election Determined By Straws (1931)

from The Republican (Danville, Indiana) - issue of Thursday, January 1, 1931 – page 1, column 2

Harold M. Knetzer, Republican, won the trusteeship of Middle township, Saturday morning, by being able to draw the long straw from a lot of ten. Mr. Knetzer is the present incumbent and in the recent election, he and David Surber, Democratic candidate, tied for election with 385 votes each. The election board did not decide who was the elected the night of the election and friends of Knetzer declared him elected since he was the present incumbent and that at the election no trustee had been elected to succeed him and the matter was dismissed at that time.

Evidently as the weeks passed, Mr. Surber began to think that he had as much right to the office as Knetzer. On Wednedsay, Dec. 17, he, through his attorneys, Blessing & Stevenson, filed a mandamus suit against the election board of Middle township composed of Evart Watson, Anson L. Jones and Hugh J. Woody, asking that they meet and cast lots to determine which candidate should receive the election. Friday morning, Judge Dougan ruled that this method be followed and that the election board meet Saturday morning and cast lots to determine the election.

One long and nine short straws were placed in a book and Knetzer and Surber drew in turn until the former pulled the lucky straw.

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