Earl P. Cook Collection of County Unit System MaterialsEarl P. Cook Collection of County Unit System Materials

Earl P. Cook Collection of County Unit System Materials

Descriptive Summary

Title: Earl P. Cook Collection of County Unit System Materials
Creator: Cook, Earl Pope
Dates: 1946
Extent: 1.0 folder
Collection Number: RBRL/317/EPC
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: In 1946, the Georgia Veterans for Majority Rule group brought forth two lawsuits against the Georgia Democratic Executive Committee in objection to the county unit system. The Georgia Veterans for Majority Rule found the county unit system unconstitutional which gave an overwhelming advantage for candidates to win votes in rural counties despite the fact that the population of rural Georgia only comprised approximately one-third of the state’s population. Earl Pope Cook was a Troup County native and Army Signal Corps veteran who testified as a plaintiff in one of the two test suits against the Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee and the Secretary of State, Ben W. Fortson.

Collection Description

Historical Note

The Georgia Veterans for Majority Rule is comprised of veterans from World War II. In 1946, the organization brought forth two suits against the county unit system after Eugene Talmadge won the nomination as the Democratic gubernatorial candidate over James V. Carmichael. Carmichael won the majority of popular votes, but due to the structure of the county unit system, which gave an overwhelming advantage to rural counties, Talmadge won the nomination despite gathering less than 45% of the popular vote. Earl Pope Cook was born on October 15, 1919 in LaGrange, Georgia (Troup County). Cook graduated from Tech High School and Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia before joining the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. Cook eventually rose to the rank as major in the Army Signal Corps during World War II and served in Task Force 6814 as part of the 26th signal company which established telephone, radio, and messager service to the division units. Cook traveled to the South Pacific, France, and to the Philippines before being assigned to the Signal Corps Board at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey in 1945. Major Cook was discharged after the end of the war and returned to Georgia. In 1946, he testified as a plaintiff in one of the two test suits against the Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee and the Secretary of State, Ben Fortson. Cook married Edith Harber in 1947 and was subsequently employed by Southern Bell Tel & Tel. Company where he worked for over thirty years before retiring in 1980.

Scope and Content

The file consists of letters, pamphlets, and clippings relating to the lawsuits brought against the Georgia Democratic Executive Committee by the Georgia Veterans for Majority Rule group regarding the county unit system.


Administrative Information and Restrictions

Preferred Citation

Earl P. Cook Collection of County Unit Materials, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia.

Processing Note

Clippings have been copied onto bond paper for protection of content.

Copyright Information

Before material from collections at the Richard B. Russell Library may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permissions. Persons wishing to quote from materials in the Russell Library collection should consult the Director. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared by Russell staff, 2012.


Related Materials

Access Points

Elections--Georgia--History--20th century.
Georgia--Politics and government--1865-1950.
Voting.

Related Collections in this Repository

M. E. Thompson Papers

Helen M. Lewis Collection of James V. Carmichael Campaign Material


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

Box
1Materials related to suits on the county unit system: Case pamphlets on the Supreme Court of the United States - Earl P. Cook vs. Ben W. Fortson, Jr.; Mrs. Robert Lee Turman and Cullen B. Gosnell vs, Georgia State Democratic Executive Committee and Ben W. Fortson, Jr.; letters from the Georgia Veterans for Majority Rule about suits; clippings, 1946