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assessor, who has gone around the ward, investigated as to whether the man lives there, and whose check is made after an actual inspection by him 1-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Those reports come to you in the registrar department, and you check and correct the names on the voting-list in accordance with the reports of the assessors and collectors ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. In that way, by comparison with the list as it was before and by these checks, you have the list purged by tbe 15th of July!-A. Yes, sir. The assessor's list this year closed on July 15, and, at this time, we have not yet entirely completed this preliminary work.
Q. Give the steps from that forward.-A. That completes the preparation of the registry-list for printing. The law requires the registrars to have posted in all tbe precincts of the city of Boston previous to an election_twenty-four days previous is the specified time--printed copies of all the names of qualified voters found by them up to that time. Those who have not become qualified by paying their taxes are not contained in that list because they have not at that time completed the qualification required. Having posted the lists, we advertise in all the dailies the fact that we have complied with the law in posting the lists, and accompany this with a request to the citizens to examine those lists, to see whaterer omissions or errors there are in them; and, if any, to have them corrected at the registrar's office at their earliest convenience. This process of correction goes on from the time of the posting of the lists until the close of the registration, which occurs fourteen days be. fore the election.
[The contents of a book of official election records of 1878, including the notice to voters, &c., were here exhibited by the witness, who added that of the total of 53,853 registered voters in the wards and precincts of Boston, 47,890 voted; the total number of polls being 87,979.]
Q. Are the names of all citizens whose right to vote has been determined after examination by you, posted publicly throughout the wards! -A. Yes, sir; and the residence of each. The public attention having in this way been called to the names, those who intend to vote or are interested in seeing that others vote, examine the lists which are posted prominently in public places in every precinct upon boards that are shielded from the weather. If a man finds that the name of some one intending to vote is not there he goes to bim and inquires why it is, and learns that the party has not paid his tax and has been dropped off. Consequently they then go to the assessor, get the tax bill, go to the collector and pay it, and bring the bill to our office, when, upon the presentation of the paid bill, we restore the omitted Dame to the list of voters.
Q. Up to wbat day does that process continue ?-A. That goes on until fourteen days previous to the election, when the registry closes. As affording a good idea of the extent of this work I may mention that in round numbers about 15,000 names were added last year after the original printed lists bad been posted.
Q. Of men who had not paid their taxes ?-A. Of men who had not paid their taxes, or who did not occupy their former residences and whose names bad been left off in consequence of removals from one ward to the other or from one precinct to the other. These also included a tbird class, namely, those who having come of age or having moved into the city were to be qualified as new voters, and finally those who had recently become citizens by naturalization.
Q. Is your office open continuously until the close of registration A. It is open continuously all the year round; that is to say, there are always in attendance three registrars and a permanent clerk. When pressed we employ temporarily a force of from four to fifteen clerks.
Q. State the process of purging these lists after they have been thus made up. When an allegation is made from any source that a name is improperly upon the list, what is the process by which that name is examined into ?-A. A bill which we had introduced in the legislature in 1878 proposed to give us the power to administer oaths to individuals where there was any question in regard to the proper qualifications of any one upon or proposed to be put upon the list. It provided for an examination upon the representation of any citizen who would appear and make a written statement, under oath, before a justice of the peace, that be believed or bad reason to believe that a certain individual upon the roting list, describing him, was not properly qualified. That bill would have given to our board a certain judicial character. The process, however, is this : Upon such a representation being made to us, we issue to the individual referred to a summons and proceed to examine and see if he is qualified. That which I now hold in my hand is the form of process made use of. This form was prepared not by our board but by Mr. Chandler, I think, for the bureau of inspection, and being perfectly satisfactory to us was adopted by us. The file of papers before me contains the complaints of illegal registration which were made by the bureau of inspection. Perhaps it would be well for me to read one of the complaiuts as made out, in order that the committee may have the form before them.
[Note. The production of a copy of the blank (printed) form of complaint having been requested by the chairman for insertion in the rec. ord, the form of complaint read from by the witness is given at this point not only as a portion of his remarks but as a literal transcript of the form itself. The italics indicate the portions of the original that are in writing. It is as follows:]
To the board of registrars of voters of the city of Boston.
COMPLAINT UNDER THE GENERAL LAWS FOR 1878, c. 243, ý 14.
The complaint of Samuel Frost, of ward eight, precinct in said Boston, a legal voter in said city, states :
That he has reason to believe, and does believe, that one Rodney P. Wright, 44 Cambridge street, whose name is on the voting list for ward 10, precinct one, has not the legal qualifications of a voter, and that the alleged disqualification is non-residence.
Wherefore your complainant prays that said Rodney P. Iright be summoned to appear before your board, at a time and place to be named, wbich time shall be before the election next ensuing, and that he be examined, under oath, in regard to the matter set forth in this complaint, and, if the charge be sustained, that his name be stricken from the list. (Sign-d)
SAMUEL FROST. SUFFOLK, ss., Oct. 25, 1878.
Then personally appeared the above-named Samuel Frost and made oath that the statements in the above complaint, by bim subscribed, are true. Before me
Justice of the Peace.
The WITNESS. I bave here 29 papers like the one I have just read, all of which were prepared by the bureau of inspection. The process in all such cases was to summon before us the party and to examine into and ascertain the facts. Take, for iustance, the name as to which the complaint I have just read was made. We would find that upon the assessor's list the name of Rodney P. Wright had been returned to us as a resident of, we will say, No. 1 Staniford street. Mr. Wright was summoned, and upon investigation it appeared that when the committee of the bureau of inspection went to No. 1 Staniford street in Oc. tober, they found that Mr. Wright did not live there. It then appeared that Mr. Wright had happened to remove from his place of residence at No. 1 Staniford street to a residence a short distance away on Hancock street, for instance, in the same ward, but not in the same precinct. The statute requires the voter to vote from the house and in the precinct in which he resided upon the first of May. It matters not where he may move to ad interim throughout the State; if he votes, he must go back and vote in the ward and precinct in which he was assessed on the first of May. For this reason the complaint as to Wright was marked "dismissed," as he had not moved away from the city, but was entitled to go back to the precinct in which he resided on May 1st and to vote from No. 1 Staniford street. All of the papers in the file before me (relating to the disqualification of alleged non-residents) were dis. posed of, I believe, in the same way. Many of the complaints were marked * dismissed” because of errors as to residence, these errors arising because the supervisors who went around in Cctober had not found men residing at the places at wbich they did reside when assessed in May. A large amount of labor necessarily devolved upon us under the law, and we were iuterrupted by these complaints when making tinal corrections of the list, but being desirous of gratifying the citizens in every way, we complied with whatever demands were made upon us aside from our regular duties.
Q. (By Mr. McDONALD ) A change of resiilence after the first of May does not affect the right of the individual to vote at tbe place at which he was assessed ?-A. No, sir; and we have no right to change the residence even upon notification. If a man notifies us that he has moved, for instance, from ward 1 to ward 10, the fact is made use of in the next year, when the new assessor's list is made.
By the CHAIRMAN: Q. Full opportunity is afforded to investigate the right of any citizen to be upon those lists I-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did the political parties in the last election make complaint to you of persons illegally upon the lists in order to have their names taken from the lists, and did they have an opportunity to ascertain and did they ascertain the facts in regard to those persons ?—A. They did. But the only investigations tbat were brought to our attention were these that were made in the form prepared by the bureau of inspection. This bureau was establisbed by a body of persons who called themselves “Young Republicans,” for the purpose of preventing fraud. As we, in our office, are desirous of preventing every kind of fraud, we not only have no objection to, but are happy to have the assistance of those gentlemen and of every one else in that direction.
Q. This was a voluntary organization ?-A. It was.
Q. How many complaints in regard to names alleged to be upon the list illegally were made by that bureau of inspection prior to the election of 1878 !-A. They attempted to carry out their ideas through the appointment of a certain number of “Young Republicans” in each of the wards, whose daty it was to go around and ascertain, as far as pos. sible, the legal qualifications of the voters within their several bailiwicks or precincts. They performed the duty to a certain extent, but it was only to a very limited extent. I think that some twenty-nine are all the complaints that I have upon record from them. As to those, there was but one, or at the most two, who proved to be not qualified to vote, and wbo had not voted. As to all the others, explanations were readily made.
Q. Does the power to purge the lists and take off improper names exist in your board from July 15th, when the names upon the lists are posted, until fourteen days preceding the election I-A. Yes, sir. There is no general public knowledge of the voters until we publish the names in the voting lists twenty-four days before the election.
Q. Until the day of election they have twenty-four days for the purpose of purging the lists and taking from it illegal names !--A. Yes.
Q. Was the contest of last fall a heated one !-A. It was; very.
Q. This bureau of inspection organized for the first time last fall, in November?—A. I believe it was organized then. It might have existed before ander other forms, but it existed as an organization at that time.
Q. Was Mr. Chandler connected with that organization ?-A. Who the chairman was I do not know. We knew of Mr. Parker C. Chandler as having authority to act for the bureau of inspection.
Q. From the care you bave given to the registry list and the opportunity wbich you and your associates have had to purge it, state your opinion as to the proportion of illegal names, if any, that were upon that list on the morning of the election.-A. My opinion is that the number was very small. Although I should not dare to say there were none, at the same time I can present to your coinmittee the record, which is unchallenged, and which will show you exactly what I have said about it, and that is, that the purity of our lists on the morning of that or any otber election, when they have been presented to the board, has been almost perfect. The bureau of inspection presented to us for our examination 899 cases of names wbich they had copied from the list of Commissioner Hallett. Under the law these cases should have come to us directly, and not through Judge Hallett's court.
Q. Who presented those !--A. They were presented by Mr. Parker C. Chandler on behalf of the bureau of inspection, and were very volumi. nous, making a batch like that which I have here. Upon finding, as I did, that these names had been obtained from the lists of Commissioner Hallett, I questioned the propriety of receiving them, for the reason that they were unaccompanied by any allegation of personal knowledge on the part of those by whom they were submitted. , An oath that the person knows the things alleged is required in such cases; but as these parties did not personally know anything about the paines, and as the list was a copy, it was questionable whether we ought to take the names. I finally, however, determined to go through the list. Of the whole number of names presented (899), there had already been erased from the voting lists, on account of deaths and removals from the city, 333, I will explain as to that, that the supervisors and marshals in the ser. eral districts or precincts, when reporting the fact of a death, were not aware that, under our statute, the registrar of births and deaths sends to our office weekly a statement of the deaths of all persons over twentyone years of age. By means of these statements the names of deceased persons are expunged and our lists in tbat particular corrected from week to week. These 333 names had, tberefore, been stricken off before they were presented to our notice in the manner I bave indicated.
Q. The list had been purged of those by the operation of the statute law -A. Yes, sir. Of the remainder of tbose 899 names there were 314 as to which complaint was not sustained ; that is to say, in that number of cases (every one of which was investigated) the parties appeared and the charges of disqualification by reason of inability to read and write or other reasons were not sustained. Sixty-nine were cases of death reported by the city registrar. Of the total, there were upon our list but 37 names of persons disqualified, and of those 37 which were erased for disqualification, we found that, so far as our list was concerned, 30 bad not voted within four years. This fact we ascertained by reference to the lists which were in use in the several precincts at the elec. tions in the preceding four years, and which show, by the appearance or non-appearance of the check-mark of the ward-room inspector, whether a man whose name is given there did in fact vote or not—these sheets haring subsequently been bound in a large book and kept for reference. There were 116 names as to which the parties did not respond to our summons. As no capias could issue, no respouse was made in those cases. In order to keep the list as free from fraud as possible, we marked on the margin, in red ink, opposite to each of those names, the letter “C,” the meaning of which is that the party is complained of and bas not responded. We then sent to the warden of the precinct in which any of those names appeared a letter or circular (this accompanying the roting-list, which is sent from our office at six o'clock on the morning of the election) containing a list of the names marked "C,” with a request to him, before receiving their votes, to carefully examine for himself and see that the persons so indicated are qualified, and, it pot qualified, not to receive their votes, but to report to our office. From that source we received no complaint. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, having made that statement, I call attention to the fact that, with 54,000 voters on the list; with the scrutiny which was exercised by the United States supervisors and United States marshals; with the indefatigable industry and enthusiasm wbich naturally characterized the efforts of the young Republicans in an election that was so excited as was that of last fall, that, with all the complaints that were made at our office, there were really and absolutely (with the exception of a few wbo were tried and bound over here) but two out of the seven who could be regarded in any way as having been guilty of fraud. I say but two, because the others were poor ignorant negroes, freedmen from tbe South, who were residing by themselves in ward 9, who had voted for the tirst time, as one of them said, when General Grant was nomi. nated, and who had no idea of the years, and could neither read nor write. Those four poor negroes were charged, arrested, and brought bere, but were as innocent of a fraudulent intent as would have been a child three years old. If our voting list for the city of Boston, a city of 350,000 inhabitants, is so correct that, with all this thorough scruting and all this effort to show errors, there are less than half a score of names as to which there is a charge of even a shadow of fraud, I suggest that it seems entirely unnecessary to have any particular laws in regard to it. One word more, Mr. Chairman, in connection with tbis. I will say that we are rather proud of the character of the regis. tration in the city of Boston. It is the only city of the commonwealth in wbich there is a properly organized board of registration. There. fore, if the city of Boston is to be held up at all, sbe should be held op for example and emulation, rather than for censure and reproof.
Q. Your opinion, then, is that the laws of the commonwealth as executed by you and your colleagues are sufficient to protect the purity and honesty of the ballot in the city of Boston !–A. Entirely better than in any other town or city of the commonwealth.
Q. Of the 899 names that came to you from the supervisors or mar. shals, how many, upon careful examination, did you find to be those