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Republican ballot 1860

  • Republican ballot 1860
A copy of one of the 1860 Abraham Lincoln ballots printed for voters to cast in Virginia.
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Republican ballot 1860

"Virginia Republican ticket. For president Abraham Lincoln of Illinois. For vice president Hannibal Hamlin of Maine," 1860, Broadside, Flavia Reed Owen Special Collections and Archives, Randolph-Macon College.

Organized in the mid-1850s to oppose the expansion of slavery, the Republican Party nominated Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, as its presidential candidate in 1860. The party platform denounced Southern threats to leave the Union and the Democratic Party's efforts to protect slavery as a constitutional right. The Republican Party strongly opposed the expansion of slavery into territories and demanded that Kansas be admitted to the Union as a free state, but it promised to safeguard the institution in the states where it already existed. The platform denounced proposals to reopen the African slave trade, supported safeguards for the rights of immigrants, and advocated construction of a transcontinental railroad and other internal improvements.

Lincoln and vice presidential candidate Hannibal Hamlin, a United States senator from Maine, received the highest number of popular votes and won the electoral votes in every free state, with the exception of New Jersey, where Lincoln split electors with Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. Sometimes described as not having received any votes in Virginia, Lincoln performed competitively in the northwestern part of the state and picked up scattered votes in Shenandoah County, the upper Potomac valley, and the city of Portsmouth. The vote totals published in the Daily Richmond Enquirer on December 24, 1860, show that Lincoln received 1,929 votes (1.15 percent) in Virginia.

In 1860 and 1861, voting was viva voce, or by voice vote. Voters announced out loud for whom they voted in the presence of everyone there. In presidential elections only, voters also handed in ballots containing the names of candidates for presidential elector, and they signed the back of the ballots in order that a ballot could be removed if a voter's eligibility was successfully challenged. Throughout the state, newspaper editors and printing offices printed ballots, or tickets, for voters to take to their polling places.