Recent Cases: Constitutional Law — Civil Rights — Elections — Right of Negroes to Vote in Pre-Primary Election

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Nebraska Law Review, Vol: 33, Issue: 1, Page: 96

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Schaper, John S.
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Since 1889 the Jaybird Democratic Association of Fort Bend County, Texas has conducted an election in which candidates for local and county offices have been chosen prior to the official Democratic Party primary election. The winner of the Jaybird election has usually filed as a candidate in the Democratic primary and, with few exceptions, has been elected to office. All white voters eligible to participate in the primary and general elections are eligible to participate in the Jay­bird primary, but Negroes are specifically excluded. There is no "formal" connection between the Jaybirds and any party holding an election on the official primary day. The Jaybirds do not have a state organization,, are entirely self-financed, and do not comply with the state law governing local political parties. Plaintiffs brought action for a decree declaring ·that they and all Negroes were entitled to vote in the Jaybird election. On appeal to the United States Supreme Court, held: denial of voting privileges in this pre-primary election constituted a violation of the provisions of the Fifteenth Amendment.