A Look Back in Time: Lewis County Auditor Expected 75% Voter Turnout Ahead of the 1962 General Election


Lewis County was expected to see 75% voter turnout in the 1962 midterm elections on Nov. 6, 1962, according to Lewis County Auditor Vern Cain. Cain’s guess was included in the Nov. 5 edition of The Chronicle.

“The auditor said he expects more than 15,000 votes to roll into his office Tuesday night and early Wednesday, and that Lewis County’s voter turnout will be better than that forecast as an average over the state. That is 68%,” The Chronicle reported. “Nothing like the 1960 presidential election turnout is expected. In Lewis County 84.3% of the registered vote went to the polls for an all-time high (in 1960).”

According to Cain, polls across the county were scheduled to open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday and close at 8 p.m. The Chronicle reported the auditor’s office at the Lewis County Courthouse was expected to remain open throughout the day and “all night” to count ballots.

“The big tabulation board upon which all votes are entered will again be in the courthouse hallway, but not adjacent to the auditor’s office … This time it will be in the hallway by the treasurer and assessor office doorways,” The Chronicle reported.

According to the auditor’s staff, vote counting was not expected to be as quick as in the Sept. 11 primary when the unofficial tabulation was completed by 1:30 a.m.

“With a blanket-sized ballot and one-half of it occupied by 11 special state issues, election crews are expected to have a fairly long chore,” The Chronicle reported.

The Chronicle also reported voter registration for the 1962 general election was the lowest in over 20 years due to the county’s population loss.


Saturday, Nov. 5, 1932

• A total of 19.37 miles of highway was scheduled to be constructed in Lewis County in 1932. “All of the (highway) projects were constructed to state specifications,” The Chronicle reported. The most expensive highway project relative to length was a highway running beside the Tilton River west of Morton. Part of the reason for the expense of the highway was logging that accompanied its construction. The highway was “built through standing timber that had to be cut down the width of the right of way, about 1,000,000 feet of logs being piled alongside,” The Chronicle reported.

• The Grant Hodge Post of the American Legion was preparing for Centralia’s upcoming biennial celebration of Armistice Day. The program was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, 1932 with memorial services at the American Legion monument in “the city park.” The event was scheduled to end at noon when “all ex-service men will be guests of the American Legion auxiliary at a free dinner at the veterans’ headquarters in the basement of the Elk’s Club,” The Chronicle reported. A football game was scheduled for 2 p.m. at Centralia’s Noble Field between Centralia High School and Tacoma’s Lincoln High School. An evening program was scheduled to include a wrestling show at 7:30 at the Liberty Theater followed by a dance at the auditorium.

• The Montrose Rebekah Lodge in Toledo was scheduled to host a meeting of the Rebekah district No. 18 session. The district included lodges from places including Randle, Onalaska, Chehalis, Centralia, Pe Ell and Long Beach. The meeting was expected to include the “election of officers, ritualistic contests and other business,” The Chronicle reported.

• The Chronicle reported a high percentage of the Adna High School’s student body was present at the school’s Halloween party on Friday, Nov. 4. The party, which took place in the school gym, was described as being “typically Halloween,” by The Chronicle. “The gym was decorated with corn stalks and pumpkins and in the course of the evening many spooky Halloween games were played,” The Chronicle reported.

• An ad for J.H. Jahnke’s campaign for Superior Court Judge was included in The Chronicle. “HONEST JUST CAPABLE,” the ad stated. The ad claimed Jahnke was good for the economy and tax reduction as he would keep court operating costs to a minimum and he would give “impartial consideration to every litigant before him.” The ad also claimed Jahnke would be a good choice for parents concerned with juvenile justice. “Fathers and mothers who may be so unfortunate as to have their children brought before the court may rest assured that they will receive kind and sympathetic treatment,” the ad stated.

• A campaign ad for Martin Smith’s candidacy for Congress was included in The Chronicle. “Favors more just treatment for Lewis County than it has received in the past,” the ad stated. Smith, a Democrat, was elected in the November election and served 10 years before losing reelection in 1942.

• A large ad for Lucky Strike cigarettes was included in The Chronicle. “‘Nature in the Raw’ — inspired by the savage ferocity of a death-battle between a vicious tiger and the bloodthirsty Black Panther — the terror of the Java jungles,” the ad stated in describing the Lucky Strike’s cigarettes.


Thursday, Nov. 5, 1942

• Democrats appeared to have narrowly kept control of the State Legislature following the 1942 November elections, according to The Chronicle. In the State Senate, the Republicans were reported as having gained eight seats, increasing their membership in the chamber to 17 seats. In the State House, the Republicans were reported to have won 27 seats to the Democrat’s 43, with 29 seats still to be decided.

• Edgar Rackliff, an 18-year-old from Seattle, was being held in the Lewis County jail after admitting to breaking into four Chehalis homes in the previous month. Rackliff was charged with second degree burglary and was alleged to have stolen items, primarily watches, and cash valued at $120. He had previously served in the state training school in Chehalis, now known as Green Hill School.

• Final tabulations from the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 1942 showed over 10,000 votes had been cast in Lewis County. Among the results from the election were the numbers for the congressional race for Washington’s third district, which showed Republican Fred Norman leading Democratic incumbent Martin Smith 6,177 to 3,738 in Lewis County and 32,626 to 24,569 in the district generally.

• The Chronicle reported Lewis County was facing a fuel shortage, possibly a result of the ongoing American participation in World War II. According to The Chronicle, there were 74 families in Centralia who had no wood and needed some as well as 474 Chehalis families and 257 Centralia families who had no coal and were in need.

• A scrap metal drive put on by the Chehalis School District was reported as having come to an end after two weeks. The drive collected an amount that was equal to 95 pounds of metal for every student in the school district. “The elementary school pupils brought their scrap to school with tiny hands, wheelbarrows, wagons, old baby carriages and other vehicles too numerous to mention,” said Joseph Hurley, chairman of the Chehalis Salvage Committee. According to The Chronicle, each student was awarded an army rank according to the amount of scrap they had collected. “There were more officers than privates before the drive was over,” The Chronicle reported. “Several earned the rank of ‘commander-in-chief’ by contributing a ton of scrap.” The money obtained through the sale of the scrap was reportedly to be used for student activities.

• The Chehalis School District’s hours were scheduled to be changed according to Chehalis School Board chair Willaim Luebke. Classes were to start at 9:20 a.m., half an hour later than previously, with classes ending at 4 p.m. The decision was made so school buses could operate during daylight hours.

• A drive was underway to raise money to support the Chinese army during World War II. “Anything America does to help China will help to save civilization by keeping the Chinese army fighting,” Walter Hiltner told the Chehalis Kiwanis and Rotary clubs during a joint meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 4. Hiltner was the Washington state president for  United China Relief. “The Chinese are probably the greatest allies the United States has. They have already killed some five million Japanese, but fifteen million more of their own number have been killed during the last 10 years,” Hiltner reportedly told the club members. David Nutting, the chair of the local committee for the drive then told the audience they would be placing a large number of bottles throughout Chehalis and the surrounding rural areas for both “large and small coins.” After Hiltner and Nutting finished speaking, $40 was given to the campaign by the club members present.

Wednesday, Nov. 5, 1952

• A record number of Lewis County voters were reported to have turned out for the Nov. 4, 1952 general election. According to the Lewis County Auditor’s Office, an estimated 72% to 73% of registered voters in Lewis County had turned out to vote.

• With 101 out of Lewis County’s 102 precincts reporting, Republican Presidential Nominee Dwight Eisenhower had received 11,053 votes to Democratic Presidential Nominee and Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson’s 6,626 votes. In the race for U.S. Senator, Democrat Henry Jackson trailed Republican incumbent Harry Cain, though Jackson would prevail in the statewide vote. In the race for the third congressional district, Republican incumbent Russell Mack led Democrat Gordon Quarnstrom by a vote of 10,362 to 6,692 in Lewis County. Mack won reelection and continued to serve in Congress until his death in 1960. 

• A “small Centralia girl” narrowly escaped serious injury on Tuesday, Nov. 4 while playing dress up. While wearing a long dress and playing near her home the dress she was wearing caught fire from a nearby pile of burning leaves. The five-year-old suffered third degree burns on her left leg. “Parents of the child said she was wearing the ‘grown-up’ clothing while playing near her home and approached too near a pile of burning leaves in the yard of a neighbor,” The Chronicle reported.

• A 30-year-old Morton woman named Dorothy Perigo was reportedly being held in the Lewis County jail on $1,000 bail for attempted arson. Perigo was accused of attempting to burn some of her mother-in-law’s clothing that was hanging on a back porch.

• A four room “modern house” on six acres a half mile from the Chehalis city limits was listed for $15,000 in The Chronicle. The property also included a two room “modern cottage,” a double garage, a storage and fruit room, a medium sized chicken house and a small barn.

• Republican Gov. Arthur Langlie was reelected to what was at the time an unprecedented third term as Governor of Washington. Langlie’s margin of victory was reported to be “near, if not above, record-breaking proportions.” As of Wednesday, Nov. 5 Langlie’s lead stood 31,000 votes with about 65% of the votes tallied.

• Centralia voters were reported to have approved a 25-year franchise to the Washington Gas and Electric Company. The vote stood at 2,861 for the franchise to 1,224 votes against. The proposal required only a simple majority of the vote and had already been approved by the Centralia City Commission.


Monday, Nov. 5, 1962

• A total of 42 drivers were arrested in Lewis County by the State Patrol over the weekend of Nov. 3 and 4. Of those, five were arrested for drunk driving. Another 23 drivers were arrested for speeding, including a 19-year-old Longview girl who was recorded as driving 103 miles per hour.

• Major General Frederick Zierath, the commanding officer at Fort Lewis, was scheduled to be the main speaker at the Veterans Day Memorial Service in Centralia. The service was scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Fox Theatre. Zierath was also expected to be on the reviewing stand for the Veterans Day parade that was scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.

• Jeffrey Thompson, the two-month-old infant son of “Mr. and Mrs. Jack Thompson,” was reported to have died of natural causes at a Seattle hospital on Friday, Nov. 2. A graveside service was scheduled to be held at the Morton cemetery on Tuesday, Nov. 6. He was survived by his parents, his brother Johnny, and his grandparents in Centralia and Morton.

• Aleandrow Bastinelli, 74, died on Saturday, Nov. 3 while visiting his son F.M. Joe Bastinelli in Randle. The elder Bastinelli was born on Jan. 1, 1888 in Italy and had lived in Martin Creek, Pennsylvania for the 50 years prior to his death. He was survived by four sons, four daughters and 42 grandchildren.

• A campaign ad for Democrats running for the 20th district’s State House seats was included in The Chronicle. The Democratic candidates were Ray Hayes, Jr. and Elmer Jastad. “Democratic legislative nominees have a strong program of leadership for: schools… health and correctional institutions… highways and bridges… natural resources… social security and public assistance benefits… new industries to provide jobs for an increasing population… AND A REALISTIC AND BUSINESSLIKE APPROACH TO YOUR STATE FINANCES WITH THE CONTINUATION OF A BALANCED BUDGET,” the ad stated.

• A campaign ad for Elmer Jastad in his campaign for the State House was included in The Chronicle. The ad was in the form of a letter from the State Treasurer Tom Martin. “I have known Elmer for 40 years… ever since he played on my Pe Ell High School basketball team. During this period he has become eminently qualified to serve as one of your State Representatives. He has served 10 years as Mayor and Councilman of Pe Ell and Mayor of Morton for 12 years. Additionally, he has operated drug stores successfully in Morton and Pe Ell for 32 years,” Martin said in the ad.

• A four bedroom “split-level” house in Centralia was listed for $18,000 in The Chronicle. The house was described as having two fireplaces, a large recreation room and a new gas furnace.