The importance of an election law that would maintain pro-slavery control in Kansas Territory was clear to the legislators. The Bogus Legislature called its statute, "An Act to Provide for the Qualification of Voters, and to Prevent the Propagation of Sentiments Detrimental to the Peace and Quiet of the Territory." [House Journal, 44]

The act provided for the election of a Congressional Delegate in October 1855 and every odd numbered year thereafter, and for the election of members of the Territorial Legislature and of county officials in October 1856 and every even numbered year thereafter. Every county was made an election district, with all elections held at the county courthouse, or at such place as the county commissioners might name. The county sheriff was to give notice of the voting place, either by posting or by newspaper publication, at least ten days before the day of the election. County Boards could establish additional precincts but in no case could there be more than one precinct in each township. The County Board was to appoint election judges. Polls were to be open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, but if all votes could not be taken, the judges could adjourn the vote for one additional day.

Those eligible to vote were white male citizens, and male Indians who had been made citizens by federal treaty, over twenty-one years of age. The requirement for residence in the territory and county in which a person wanted to vote was satisfied by payment of a poll tax at the voting booth. No person convicted of civil or criminal violation of the Fugitive Slave Act could vote or hold office in the territory. Any voter could be challenged and required to take an oath that he would sustain the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Act and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Anyone refusing to take the oath could be rejected. Each member of the legislative assembly, and every officer elected or appointed to office under the laws of the territory, was also required to take an oath to support the two acts of Congress. [Blackmar, History, 570 ff.]

The first free-state legislature in 1858 repealed the statute's requirement of an oath, but left the poll tax and election date provisions in place. The revenue generated by the unpopular poll tax was badly needed. Fisher, Property Taxation, 190] There were many elections in territorial Kansas, and investigation of election fraud was the most expensive item in territorial budgets, followed by the second most expensive item, holding constitutional conventions. [Madden, Financing of a New Territory, 162]

Voting at Kickapoo 1855

Cartoonist shows the voters circling between the saloon and the polling place. Early Kansas elections often saw fraudulent voting.

One writer counted no fewer than twenty-five general elections in Kansas Territory, many of them boycotted by the one side or the other: [Morgan, Wyandotte County, Ch 13]

  1. November 29, 1854 Congressional Delegate-All voters
  2. March 30, 1855 Members of Territorial Legislature-All voters
  3. May 22, 1855 Substitute members of Legislature -Free-state voters
  4. October 1, 1855 Congressional Delegate-Pro-slavery voters
  5. October 9, 1855 Congressional Delegate-Free-state voters
  6. October 9, 1855 Delegates to Topeka Constitutional Convention-Free- state voters
  7. December 15, 1855 Adoption of Topeka Constitution-Free-state voters
  8. January 15, 1856 Territorial Officers, Congressional Delegate, Legislature under Topeka Constitution-Free-state voters
  9. October 6, 1856 Congressional Delegate, Legislature, Call for a Constitutional Convention-Pro-slavery voters
  10. June 15, 1857 Delegates to Lecompton Constitutional Convention- Pro-slavery voters
  11. August 9, 1857 Territorial Officers, Member of Congress, Legislature, and resubmission of Topeka Constitution-Free-state voters
  12. October 5 and 6 1857 Congressional Delegate, Legislature-All voters
  13. December 21, 1857 Adoption of Lecompton Constitution, with or without slavery-Pro-slavery voters
  14. January 4, 1858 Territorial Officers, Congressional Delegate, Legislature-All voters
  15. January 4, 1858 Rejection of Lecompton Constitution-Free-state voters
  16. March 9,1858 Delegates to Leavenworth Constitutional Convention- Free-state voters
  17. May 18, 1858 Adoption of Leavenworth Constitution, Territorial Officers-Free-state voters
  18. August 2, 1858 Rejection of Lecompton Constitution as submitted by English bill-All voters
  19. October 4, 1858-Members of Territorial House, Superintendent of Schools-All voters
  20. March 28, 1859 Call Wyandotte Constitutional Convention-All voters
  21. June 7, 1859 Delegates to Wyandotte Convention-All voters
  22. October 4, 1859 Adoption of Wyandotte Constitution-All voters
  23. November 8, 1859 Congressional Delegate and Legislature
  24. December 6, 1859 State Officers, Legislature, Congressional Representative-All voters
  25. November 6, 1860 Legislature-All voters

Charles Clark