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Alling, H., Why We Vote. Olympia, Wash.: Westland Publishing Company. $0.50.
Bayles, G. J., Civil Church Law Cases. New York: Civil Church Press.
Blackmar, F. W., Economics. Topeka, Kan.: Crane & Co. $1.00.
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The Act of July 2, 1839,' was the last comprehensive law dealing with the subject of elections to be passed by the Pennsylvania legislature. While in 1874, and again in 1893, election laws were passed, the former making changes incidental to the adoption of the new constitution, and the latter introducing a new form of ballot, neither made any claim to dealing comprehensively with the subject. All legislation since 1839 has been either supplementary to or amendatory of one of these three acts. Of such amendments there have been a great number, scarcely a session of the legislature having passed without the enactment of one or more, and in some instances of as many as a dozen. Consequently there are many conflicting provisions on the statute books, which neither the election officers nor the state and city officials entrusted with the conduct of elections, nor even the

IP. L. 519.

judges of the court themselves, are able to harmonize. Take so simple a matter as that of changing a polling place. The Act of 1855 provides:

It shall be the duty of the select and common councils of the said city (i.e., Philadelphia) to designate the place of holding elections in the several election divisions of the wards in said city and to notify the sheriff thereof at least thirty days prior to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November and they shall have full power and authority to remove or change the place of holding the elections in any of the said election divisions whenever by reason of inability to hold said election at the place so designated a change shall be neces




The Act of 1856 provides that:

“The place for holding the elections in the City of Philadelphia may be changed in accordance with the provisions of the fifty-sixth section of the Act of 1839, which provides that, 'It shall be lawful for the electors of any township, ward or district to change the place for holding the elections for inspectors and other officers of such township, ward or district in the manner following, to wit:' " [Then follows a description of the methods to be pursued.]

The Act of 1893 provides that it shall be the duty of the several courts of quarter sessions of the several counties of the commonwealth to designate the polling places in the several districts, in the manner described in the act.' Besides these three, there are ten other provisions quoted in "Smull's Legislative Handbook" relating to the same subject.“

On the other hand, many important matters are left untouched, either because the draftsman of the original act did not see fit, on account of the conditions then existing, to provide for them, or because of subsequent unintentional repeal. For instance, there is no law directly bearing on the question whether the removal from a division of an assessor of voters works a forfeiture of office ; nor one 1 Act of 1855, Section 2, P. L. 264. 2 Act of 1856, Section 31, P. L. 573. • Section 2, P. L. 107. 4 Edition of 1899, pages 418 to 420.

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providing for appointment in case of vacancies. In a test case brought by the Municipal League of Philadelphia, the Court of Common Pleas No. I held that a removal did work a forfeiture and that the power of appointment in such cases rested in the court of common pleas.' No opinion accompanied this decision of the court, so we cannot ascertain upon what grounds the decision was determined. Prior to this case, however, the county commissioners had assumed and exercised the power of appointment.

There are many other incongruities in the laws due partly to the method pursued in their enactment. For instance, residence in an election division is not a qualification of election officers (the judge and inspectors of election), yet the Act of 1897 provides that,

“In all election districts where a vacancy exists by reason of a disqualification of the officer, or by removal, resignation, death or other cause in an election board heretofore elected or appointed, or who may hereafter be elected or appointed, the judge or judges of the court of common pleas iu the proper county, upon proof furnished that such vacancy or vacancies exist, shall at any time before any general municipal or special election appoint,” etc.

That is to say, while a non-resident may be elected a judge or inspector of election, the resident who removes from his division after his election cannot serve as a judge or inspector.

It is not my present intention, however, to analyze the existing laws, but rather to describe the conditions which have grown up under them.

So far back as 1856 the inadequacy of the state's election laws was clearly recognized. Justice Reed in the case of Page v. Allen said:

“I was counsel for Mr. Kneass in 1851 and for Mr. Mann in 1856 and from what I saw in those contested election cases I was fully convinced that the election laws were totally inefficient in preventing 123 County Court Reports, 654. 2 Section 1, P. L. 38. 359 Penna. State Reports, page 365.

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