Friday, September 11, 2009

Outside the Box

Object: Map of the official vote count for the November 12th Democratic Primary Governor’s Race, 1962

Collection: Carl E. Sanders Papers

Carl E. Sanders, state senator from 1956 to 1962, took the next step in his political career when he decided to make a run for the governor's chair in 1962 against Marvin Griffin. Shortly after his announcement, federal courts ruled that Georgia's county unit system was unconstitutional. In 1962, the state would elect its officials by popular vote, giving the urban candidate, Sanders, a greater chance at victory.

As a moderate on racial issues, Sanders faced an outspoken opponent of integration in former-Governor Griffin. While agreeing that Georgia should try to maintain the tradition of segregation, Sanders also believed it was imperative that the state avoid violence and adhere to national laws. Unlike Griffin, Sanders’ campaign issues were not centered on race. Instead, he focused on the elimination of corruption in state government and promoting progress in education and industry. In the end, his positive campaign message, Sanders clinched the election, making him the youngest governor in the country at the time. He was 37.

As a candidate, Sander's strength was concentrated in the counties above the fall line, as shown in red on the map above. When the primary votes were tallied, Sanders had captured 87 counties with 256 old unit votes while Marvin Griffin had carried 72 counties with 154 old units.

September's “Outside the Box” object will be on display in the lobby gallery of the Russell Library, open 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, until October 1st. For further information on the Carl E. Sanders Papers, please contact or visit

Post by Kat Shirley, Head of Processing, Russell Library

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