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taken from the frames in which they have been inclosed, and bound up for preservation and future reference.
[To the Chairman.) The voting lists as actually checked by the inspectors in the ward rooms at the elections for three or four years past have been bound and can be furnished by us at any time in the form in which they are preserved.
[To Mr. McDonald.] Previous to 1878 all the voters of the city of Bos. ton were listed in twenty-five wards, the wards representing from 1,500 to 2,500 voters. For greater convenience, in 1878, these wards were divided into precincts, and instead of voting at 25 ward points the voters now vote at 106 voting points.
By Mr. MCDONALD : Q. Under the former system of voting by wards had you more than one ballot-box in which to receive the 1,500 or 2,500 votes of the warī ?A. We had five and had, in each ward, six or seven inspectors, a ward man and a clerk.
Q. Yon multiplied the boxes and increased the officers in attendance upon the boxes without increasing the polling places, the boxes being indicated by letters and the arrangement being such that a man who voted at box “A” could not vote at either box “B,” box “C,” or at any other box !-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Under the present arrangement a ward is divided into how many districts ?-A. From three to five.
Q. The boundaries of those districts are marked off so that a resident, for instance, of ward one, district one, inust vote in that ward and district and cannot vote in any other ?-A. Yes, sir; he must vote in that ward and district upon the list for which bis name is found.
Q. The names upon the list for ward one, district one, are simply those of persons living within that district who bave been properly reg. istered !-A. Yes, sir; and those whose names thus appear can vote only in that district.
Q. If a man living in district two offers to vote in district one he will be debarred by the fact that his name is not upon the list for that district :-A. Yes, sir.
Q. What is about the size of these districts ?-A. They have been formed by the assessors so as to comprise as nearly as possible five hun. dred voters.
Q. Is there a provision in the law for subdividing the district if the number increases beyond five hundred ?-A. The districts may be sub. divided only after the expiration of a period of years. We are not permitted to be continually altering them.
Q. You find this system of a subdivision into districts a great convenience and at the same time a great security ?-A. It is a great convenience to citizens and at the same time a security for the ballot.
Q. May not that system of a subdivision of voting districts be carried further and to such an extent that the voters being few, and, therefore, readily ascertained and identified, the casting of an illegal vote would be almost impossible ?-A. I sbould say that thatwould be probable, and tbat the percentage of fraud would be so inappreciable as to be almost nothing
By Mr. BLAIR: Q. For what period has this board of registration existed ?-A. It was established in 1874. Q. It exists only in the city of Boston ?-A. It exists only in the city
of Boston as a regular organization. There are different laws in rela. tion to registration in the other towns of the State, but the Bostou board is specially organized for the city of Boston.
Q. How long have you been connected with it ?-A. Since August, 1877. The vacancy was created in April, but I did not accept the appointment until August.
Q. You have found the operations of this board to be of very great service in purifying the list and in superintending the vote itself ?-A. Yes, sir; the board bas organized a system upon what was originally mere list of names without residences.
Q. I judge from your statements that that which you have founded must be a very efficient organization. I would like to bave you state to us the evils existing prior to the establishment of this board, and the extent to which they have been remedied, so that we may see the efficiency of the machine in practical operation.-A. Perhaps the evils were not of a distinctive but rather of a general character. As
a the city of Boston increased in size and extent the necessity for greater stringency and precision in its governmental departments became more apparent, and this was specially true in regard to elections. Formerly the list of voters was made up from the assessors' list; the assessors marking, according to their judgment, whether a man was a foreigner, a colored or a white man, or what he was; in some instances the asses. sor would assume necessarily that a man with a foreign name was a foreign-born citizen, and in this way names were often erroneously marked upon the assessors' list of polls. You can judge, therefore, from the absence of any efficient scrutiny of that list of the assessors, wbich was necessarily imperfect, that a still more imperfect list would be made by the city clerk, and the consequence was that there was no proper scrutiny about the work. Mr. McCleary, who was the city clerk of Boston, and his father, made up the voting-lists from the assessor's lists. In 1855, under the operation of what we called the “Know-Nothing Machine, an amendment was made to the constitution by which an educational qualification was imposed upon voters, and every man who offered to vote was obliged to be able to read and write, this applying alike to naturalized citizens and others. The preparation of the list being un. der the charge of Mr. McCleary, the parties applying to be put upon the list were required to come to bim, and the consequence was that crowds would be in attendance for the purpose and, in the pressure to accommodate them, the lists would be made up necessarily without that scrutiny which they should have received and would be more or less erroneous, though this would not be the result of any fraudulent intent. This went on until the annexation had increased the territory and number of inbabitants of the city of Boston to such an extent that Mr. McCleary could not possibly attend personally to the duty inposed upon him, and it became apparent that bis endeavors to keep up the list as it ought to be kept up were fruitless. Another source of complaint at that time was the hardship to which many of our citizens in East Boston, South Boston, and Roxbury were subjected in being obliged to leave their business to come down to the city hall to be registered. The law required Mr. McCleary personally to superintend the registering, and this bardsbip or inconvenience to citizens, therefore, was one that could not be avoided except by a change of the law. Mr. McCleary volunteered to sit two evenings in a week in each of those sections of the city to enable the parties, especially those of the poor laboring class, to present their bills and register, without being compelled to lose half a day in coming to his office. However, as I say, the duties of the position finally became so arduous that the impossibility of discharging them was obvious. I then strongly urged some measure of relief. You will recognize the necessity that existed for some new arrangement, not only as a matter of convenience to the citizens, but with a view to a more correct list. We finally obtained authority by statute law to ap. point, and did appoint, in all the outer precincts what were called two assistant registrars of voters, one froin each party; these to have charge of the registration from five o'clock until ten o'clock in the evening, for fourteen days prior to the election. These are at present in existence, as appointees of the board of registration. They have limited powers, being furnished with explicit and rigid instructions (of which I will furnish the committee a copy) in regard to the process of registration, and being compelled to report every morning to our office in detail all the cases passed upon, and also to refer to the principal office, at Pemberton Square, any question arising in regard to the qualification of a voter. By this means we have cured an evil wbich resulted from haste, overwork, and the increase of population and territory, without having been due to an intentional fraud.
Q. Is it, in your opinion, manifest that something answering the purposes of your board, of similar construction and similar machinery, is necessary in all the larger places of the country ?-A. I could not give a proper answer to that, because I have not the information. In towus
Q. I am not speaking of the smaller towns, but of cities which are growing and aggregating great populations. Is it not necessary that there should be some sort of machinery operating to produce the same results which your board of registration accomplishes here!-A. I do not know that it is necessary, further than the laws provide.
Q. That is not the question. The laws speak for themselves. In the working of our institutions, and in the taking of the suffrage in these larger places, some form of machinery to accomplish the ends which your board of registration accomplishes is necessary ?-A. Decidedly.
Q. Here in Massachusetts they have, under State law, established sich a board only so recently as the year 1874. The election laws of the United States were enacted somewhat earlier than that, were they not !-A. Yes, sir.
Q. You think that under the operation of your board of registration in this city you have come as near as any city could come to securing an absolutely pure exercise of the suffrage, do you?-A. I do.
Q. The election laws of the United States, so far as registration is concerned, were never put in operation in the city of Boston until the last Congressional election, were they !-A. No, sir.
Q. So that you have no reason to complain of the United States elec. tion laws, so far as the city of Boston is concerned ?-A. I do not complaid of them.
Q. That machinery was set in operation here last year upon the request of Mr. Dean and some of his friends, was it not ?-A. I do not know really in regard to that.
Q. You did not hear the testimony of Mr. Hallett, in regard to that?A. I only know from what Judge Hallett told me at an interview which we bad subsequently.
Q. Does it not seem, so far as your knowledge and observation goes, to have been unnecessary then ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. You think that it did no good ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. You spoke of a law which divided the wards, and which was enacted in 1878; does that law relate exclusively to the city of Bos. ton?-A. Yes, sir; we are acting under special laws, not under general laws at all.
Q. It does not undertake to divide into voting precincts the wards of cities other than Boston ?-A. No.
Q. Who was the author of that law; was it Mr. Pillsbury, who was at the time a member of the legislature ?-A. The only information I have in regard to that is the fact of the bill having been introduced. We modified the bill as originally introduced, and, as far as I am aware, it was presented by Mr. Parkhurst E. Chandler and Mr. Charles Allen.
Q. You do not recollect who introduced the bill into the legislature and bad charge of it there ?-A. I do not.
Q. There were upon your registry list at the State and Congressional election of last autumn some six thousand names of persons who did not vote 1-A. About six thousand.
Q. You bave no means of determining how large a proportion of the six thousand who were entitled to vote were prevented from exercising the right by a knowledge of the fact that if they attempted to vote they would be liable to arrest ?—A. No, sir; there could not have been form my record over 116.
Q. Can you tell to what class generally those six thousand persons belonged ?-A. Those are gentlemen who did not take the trouble to vote.
Q. You cannot determine that, can you ?-A. We have a record in our office by which I could determine it.
Q. You have made no examination in regard to that matter?-A. No, sir.
Q. You do not know how many of those may be names in the class known as “gentlemen who do not take the trouble to vote" and how many may be those of laborers ?-A. We could tell that, because we have a record of every man who votes.
Q. But you have not as yet made any such examination ?--A. No, sir.
Q. You are not able to say at this time how many attempts at fraudulent voting may have been prevented by a knowledge of the fact that there were warrants existing for the arrest of whoever might attempt to vote contrary to law ?-A. No, sir.
Q. You cannot tell that, can you ?-A. No, sir; there is no positive method of telling it.
Q. A man who is allowed to vote must be able to pass a certain.edu. cational test here; he must be able to read and write. You have described fully the test to which you subject the applicant for registration, have you ?-A. I have.
Q. Do you think that a capacity to read in the way you have described and to write in the way you have described is really a necessary qualification for a voter ?-A. That is, you ask my opinion of the constitutional qualification !
Q. Yes; and I ask you if you think that an educational test no more severe than the one you have described is necessary to the exercise of tbe right of suffrage ?-A. I have hardly formed an opinion upon it.
Q. I refer to your description. Do you think that a man who can read and write only to the extent you have described is likely to be much better qualified to understand public questions and to vote intelligently than it he could not reail or write at all ?-A. That class of men are pretty good politicians.
A. What do you mean by “pretty good politicians ” ?-A. What I mean is that they do take a great deal of interest in public matters.
Q. Do you not find many men who are not able to read or write at all who manage business matters just as thoroughly as you do ?-A. Yes.
Q. Do you think that this educational test amounts to much !—A. I am in favor of it for this reason, that we in Massachusetts estimate highly every efficient means for the education of the people, and this requirement does to a certain extent compel a man to read and write if be desires to vote, and thereby is in the interest of the cause of educa tion. For that reason I am in favor of it. How far it would affect the voting system I am not prepared to say.
Q. You are in favor of it because it has a generally good effect in ed. ucational matters ?-A. Yes; because it has a tendency to cause the voting population to read and write.
Q. But here comes a man from the old country, wbo is 40 or 50 years of age, who bas never had any opportunity to learn to read and write, and yet, although he may have been unfortunate in business, he is as sharp as your best business men in the city of Boston; there are cases such as that!-A. Yes; I have known such cases.
Q. Do you think it a just thing to exclude such a map from the exercise of the suffrage, in order that you may require the mass of men to write their names in the labored way you speak of, and to read the constitutiou in a way in which they have to spell most of the ordinary words in order to get on at all ?-A. I have known in my experience for the last few years actually but two cases tbat bear a parellel to those you speak of. I will answer that question by stating this: If there is any physical disability in the way which prevents a man from reading and writiug, our laws provide that we may excuse the inability. We have adult schools, and the friends of a candidate or of a party will be very apt to foster these schools, and in that way teach men of all ages who wish to vote how to read and write. I say they will be apt to send such men to school, and in that way the constitutional requirement will prove of practical benefit to the masses.
Q, Is not that merely a sham to erade this constitutional qualificatiou?--A. I think it is a benefit to the men to learn them to read and write.
Q. I understand you, then, that you get around this constitutional requirement by establishing these evening schools as the means of enabling certain men, with great labor, to write their names, and perhaps not more than that. As to the matter of reading, I suppose that, in these schools, they select certain passages of the constitution for such men to practice upon ?-A. We do not select any particular passages.
Q. But if a man with great labor becomes able to spell out a word in the constitution, you think him qualified ?-A. No; not if he spells with great labor. For instance, a man applying to register may find it necessary to spell such a word as “ inalievable." Then, too, a man might be able to read the Boston Herald, for instance, and yet not be able to read the constitution fairly. I bad a case of that kind.
Q. If a man can read the Boston Herald, then certainly he can read. If a man can read the newspapers, it seems to me that he ought to be considered as qualified on that score.-A. Bat the constitution requires that he must read the constitution in the English language, and a German or a French man who cannot speak English fluently must comply with that requirement. In regard to another matter I would like to say a word, and tbat is this: Some of the statements that I have made may appear to contradict something that has been stated by Judge Hallett, or at least may show some difference of opinion between us. Upon that