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ing delegates to the convention. The present constitution was adopted in 1869.
Suffrage. The constitutional amendment submitted to vote in North Carolina to disfranchise the illiterate negro, was adopted and goes into effect in July, 1902. The proposed plan is similar to that adopted by Louisiana in 1898,' and makes ability to read and write a section of the constitution a qualification for voting. This provision applies to whites and blacks alike, but there is a proviso that it shall not apply to any person entitled to vote in any state prior to January 1, 1867, or to the lineal descendant of such person who registers before January 1, 1908. It is, in effect, an ingenious device to disfranchise illiterate negroes without also disfranchising illiterate whites and still keep within the letter of the fifteenth amendment, providing that the right to vote shall not be denied on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.
Mississippi adopted an educational qualification in 1890, which went into effect January 1, 1892, and the South Carolina convention in 1897 adopted an alternative educational or property qualification, which went into effect January 1, 1898. Florida, Georgia and Alabama are the only states remaining in the black belt of the South that have not restricted the franchise by constitutional provision, and Florida has accomplished practically the same result through a peculiar method of voting.
In June, 1900, Oregon rejected a woman suffrage amendment to the constitution by a vote of 28,402 to 26,265. Woman suffrage exists in four states, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah and Colorado.
Primaries.-California adopted a constitutional amendment in November giving the legislature full power to regulate primaries.' It may prescribe special qualifications for voting at primary elections or delegate this power to
11. C., ICOO, ch. 2.
the political parties, and it may pass primary laws applying only to political divisions having a certain designated population. The amendment was submitted because of a supreme court decision declaring unconstitutional the primary law of 1897, on account of the provision prescribing the qualifications for voting. The Legislature of 1899 that submitted the amendment also passed a new primary law.' Under this act primary elections are conducted by officers appointed by the local election commissioners and are held at the same time and place for all parties casting 3 per cent of the vote. An official ballot with party columns and blank spaces to be filled in with names of delegates preferred is provided, and the expense of the primaries is a public charge. The Louisiana legislature has adopted a law that shows none of the recent tendency toward state control.' It provides simply for the regulation of primaries by party committees, subject to simple requirements as to notice, officers, etc.
Voting Machines.—The voting machine is gradually winning its way into public favor. It was used with great satisfaction in many New York cities at the November presidential election. With the voting machine returns can be announced in a remarkably short time, and the opportunity for manipulation and fraud is much reduced. It secures a secret ballot in all cases and can be operated without assistance, even by an illiterate. Ingenious methods have been devised to violate the secrecy of the Australian ballot, but it seems that the voting machine is proof against all such schemes. With it the only way to bribe, and be sure that value is received, is to bribe to stay away from the polls, and this form of bribery can be abolished by compulsory voting.
The first state law authorizing the use of automatic machines was passed by New York in 1892, allowing towns to use the Myers automatic ballot cabinet at elections of town 1 Spier v. Baker, 52 P. 659. 2 Cal., 1899. ch. 32, 46, 48, 52. 8 La., 1900, ch. 133.
officers.' In 1893 Michigan' and Massachusetts permitted the use of voting machines at local elections, and in 1894 New York authorized their use at all elections. Michigan passed a similar law in 1895, Massachusetts in 1896, Minnesota' in 1897, Ohio in 1898 and Indiana' and Nebraska in 1899. During the past year Rhode Island has created a voting machine commission, to examine machines and make regulations for their use by cities and towns." Machines are to be bought by the secretary of state at not exceeding $250 each and furnished to cities and towns on application, and for this $15,000 is appropriated. In Iowa the use of voting machines has been authorized at all elections and a commission to examine voting machines created." In 1895 Connecticut authorized the use of McTammany and Myers machines at local elections. The first permanent state voting machine commission was established in New York in 1897." Massachusetts 1 and Ohio 10 followed in 1898.
Corrupt Practices.-Kentucky has made it unlawful for corporations to contribute to campaign funds." Similar laws were passed by Florida," Missouri," Nebraska " and Tennessee " in 1897.
IN. Y., 1892, ch. 15. : Mich., 1893, ch. 98. 8 Mass., 1893, ch. 465. *N. Y., 1894. ch. 764, 765. 6 Mich., 1895, ch. 76. 6 Mass., 1896, ch. 489. 7 Mion., 1897, ch. 296. 80., 1898, p. 277. Ind., 1999, ch. 155. 10 Neb. 1899, ch. 28. 11 R. I., 1900, ch. 744, 794. 12 Ia., 1900, ch. 3718 Ct., 1895, ch. 263, 333. 14 N. Y., 1897, ch. 450. 16 Mass., 1898, ch. 378, 548. 16 O., 1898, p. 277. 17 KF., 1900, ch. 12. 18 Fla., 1897, ch. 24. 19 Mo, 1897, p. 108. 20 Neb., 1897, ch. I9. 11 Tenn., 1897, ch. 18.
Civil Service Reform.—The revised charter of New Orleans, adopted in 1896, contained stringent provisions for the adoption of the merit system. It provided for the appointment, by the mayor, with the consent of the council, of a board of three civil service commissioners for terms of twelve years. The salary of the commissioners was fixed at $3,000, and no person was eligible for appointment who had been a candidate for or who had held any municipal office within four years, and no member of the commission could, during his term of office, be a candidate for or hold any state, national or local office, nor be a member of any municipal political committee or convention, nor be eligible for any state office within four years of the expiration of his term of office. The mayor could remove any commissioner for misconduct on rendering a statement of the cause to the council. The names of persons passing examinations were to be certified in order of their relative excellence as determined by examination, without reference to priority of time of examination. No officer or employee in the classified service could be removed except for cause on written charges and after hearing, the charges to be investigated by the board of civil service commissioners or by some officer or board appointed by the commission, but any officer could suspend a subordinate for a period not exceeding thirty days.
The stringent provisions of this law are all nullified by that of 1900.
This act reorganizes the board so that it shall consist of the mayor, treasurer, comptroller and two members appointed by the mayor who shall hold office during the term of the mayor. All candidates securing an average of 70 per cent on examination are eligible to appointment. The appointment is on probation for six months, and after that time entitles the appointee to hold the position until the expiration of the term of office of the appointing officer. The board is required to hold an examination within thirty days after the opening of each new municipal administration. In every such general examination all persons, either holding or desiring to hold positions in the classified civil service, are obliged to participate. A long list of officers and employees is exempted from the provisions of the act. All lists of candidates eligible for appointment prepared by the former board are rendered void and all offices and positions subject to the provisions of the act are vacated.
The act can scarcely be considered an application of the merit system as it seems especially designed to secure a clean sweep with each new administration.
Municipal Government.-A joint legislative committee has been appointed in Iowa to revise and codify special assessment laws and such other municipal laws as it may deem necessary. In New York the Governor appointed a commission of fifteen persons to revise the charter of New York city,' and its report has been recently submitted to the legislature. The bill prepared by the Ohio municipal code commission, appointed in 1898, and which was submitted to the legislature of 1900, failed to pass.
Municipal Monopolies.—The law of New Mexico of 1897, vesting cities and towns with power to regulate the price of gas, electric light and water, has been declared unconstitutional by the state supreme court, on the ground that the Legislature cannot delegate such power to consumers without providing for a judicial investigation of the reasonableness of the rates established.: Iowa has authorized cities and towns to establish heating plants, assess taxes for them and fix regulations for corporations or individuals supplying heat. Louisiana has authorized municipalities to expropriate private gas and electric light plants,' and Texas has made it unlawful for cities and towns to lease or sell water systems except by vote of the electors.
1 Ia., 1900, ch. 176. 3 N. Y., I9OO,ch. 465. 3 N. M., 1897, ch. 57, Agua Pura Co, v. Las Vegas, 60 P. 208. 4 Ia., 1900, ch. 19. 6 La., 1900, ch. III. & Tex., 1900, ch. 6.