United States v. Classic

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: Patrick B. Classic et al.
LOCATION:

DOCKET NO.: 618
DECIDED BY: Hughes Court (1941)
LOWER COURT:

ARGUED: Apr 07, 1941
DECIDED: May 26, 1941

Facts of the case

Two federal indictments were brought against Patrick B. Classic and five other election commissioners for the Louisiana second congressional district alleging conspiracy and corruption in the Democratic primary contest for U.S. Representative. The charges stated that the commissioners willfully miscounted and altered ballots cast in the primary. A federal statute makes it a crime to deny citizens rights guaranteed to them under the U.S. Constitution, and this includes the right to choose representatives. The defendants successfully challenged the indictment, citing the 1921 decision Newberry v. United States which held that primaries were not subject to the same Congressional oversight as general elections.

Question

Does Article I, section 4 permit Congress to regulate primary elections, specifically to protect voters from the fraudulent misrepresentation or alteration of their ballot?