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point I wish to say that every novement which was made by that gentleman was known to me at the time, and I, of course, had no fault to find with him in the very difficult position in which he was placed, in view of the fact that the law under which he acted did not apply to the acts of the board of registrars or to our own city. I find no occasion to complain of any act of Judge Hallett's, and there was the utmost kind. ness and harmony of feeling existing between us.
Q. Against whom is the poll tax of which you have spoken assessed !A. Against all male inhabitants of twenty years and upwards.
Q. That is, all male inbabitants who receive the protection of the laws, or whether naturalized, unnaturalized, or native born?-A. Yes; it makes no difference. The assessment, however, is very rarely made until the person is twenty-one years of age.
Q. This poll-tax must be paid before the right of voting is exercised?A. That is one qualification.
Q. How long before the election is the tax required to be paid 1-A, Fourteen days. The last day of the registration closes at 10 o'clock p. m. on the fourteenth day previous to the election. Then the doors are sbut, and no one, not even the governor of the commonwealth, can have bis name entered upon our list after that. The tax is paid as a prere. quisite to registration.
Q. As a matter of fact are any of these taxes largely paid by persons other than the voters themselves ?-A. We have no means of knowing as to that.
Q. Do you not know, not as a registrar but as a citizen, that that is the case ?-A. I have every reason to believe that there are men who state their inability to pay the tax and who have friends pay it for them.
Q. That practice exists to a very large extent ?-A. I have no doubt that it does among a certain class. It might be contined simply to certain localities. I have no doubt that, as to the two parties, as much of it is done on one side as on the other.
Q. State wbether the registration of those men who vote upon the payment of their poll-tax is not apt to be crowded into the very last days or hours, perhaps, of the time permitted for registration ?-A. I think, as a matter of fact, we register a larger pumber in the last five or six days than in the first five or six days, or perhaps weeks.
Q. Prior to the establishment of your office, was there not great confusion and difficulty attending the registration of that class of voters :A. Yes, sir; there was decidedly.
Q. And the evil continued to some extent until the enactment of the law of last year dividing the wards into precincts ?-A. Understand that I do not think that the registration was affected by it.
Q. You had plenty of time to make an examination of every case ? A. Yes.
Q. Are there many names on your list as it now stands in this city that have come down to you from former years, and which have not been scrutinized by the board at all ?-A. There are many names that bave come down to us, but, as you may have observed from what has been stated, our scrutiny is more or less directed to them every year.
Q. You have not perhaps observed the point of my question. It is this: Are there or not names on the list that you have never scru. tinized at all -A. That I cannot say, because the board was three years in operation before I went into it. I should say that undoubtedly there are names there that will gradually be eliminated from the list by further and continued scrutins. From my own observation of the list, I cannot give you any other answer than that simply I have .
reason to believe there are such names low upon the list, though small in number proportionately.
Q. You cannot tell how long it will take you, under your system, to reach all of those pames!—A. No, sir; I can only judge from last year's scrutiny.
Q. Suppose you were to commence anew and proceed to register from an actual examination as to all the inhabitants of the city, do you not think you would be more likely to get a correct registration of the citizens or voters of Boston than you would get in any other way?-A. I do not.
Q. Suppose that those who you appoint for the purpose should go from house to house and get the names, and that a list should be made up in that way independent of all outside influences, do you not think you would get a more perfect list than you would get in any other war l-A. I do not think we could get a more perfect list than that wbich we now get from the assessors. They have a moneyed object in view, and that incites them to get the names as accurately as possible.
Q. But they take many names that you have not on your list ?-A. They take the pames as a matter of business, and we take our names from them.
(By the CHAIRMAN:) Q. A citizen of Boston who is a tax payer, and whose name was not on the list in the year before last, would very naturally get upon the list, would be not?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. If the assessor had no business to take him off, the same name must come there as a necessary consequence as it did in the first place?A. Yes, sir.
Q. The checks by which your list is verified are, first, that of the as. sessor; secondly, that of the collector; thirdly, the comparison of your list with the list of the previous year. Then follows the publication of the list in every precinct, the liability to challenge by the political parties and the people of the neighborhood, and, finally, the correction by striking off improper names and putting on names improperly left off. That is the system ?-A. Yes, sir; that is the system.
EDWARD J. HOWARD sworn and examined.
By the CHAIRMAN: Question. How long have you resided in Boston !- Answer. About thirty-six years.
Q. Have you lived here all your lifetime ?-A. I have, with the ex. ception of about the first two years of my life.
Q. How long have you been connected with the board of registration of the city of Boston ?-A. From May, 1874, up to April, 1879, ofti. cially.
Q. Describe, as briefly as you can, the process of securing a correct list of the voters of the city of Boston, as also the experience you have bad in regard to the best method of obtaining correct lists, your inquiry on the subject in other States, and what you have done in order to make the list accurate and to test the capacities of voters ? - A. The voting list of 1879 varies largely from the list as it was in 1874. The list trans. mitted to the board of registration in 1874 contained some seventy-four thousand names of voters. After one year's service of the board of
registrars the list was reduced to thirty-two thousand names. The explanation of the reduction is this. It had been the custom of those whose duty it was to make the voting-list, prior to the formation of this board, to publish a list of persons as qualified voters in every ward. On the night prior to the election the lists were compared with the tax. collector's books, and against the name of every person thereon who was found not to have paid a tax within two years were placed two dots. The consequence of that was, that although there were seventyfour thousand names of voters, so-called, upon the lists, the aggregate vote in the city of Boston in 1874 was only about thirty-two thousand. Many thousands of names were thus published without being entitled to appear as those of the names of voters. On the election day, when he went to the polls to vote and called his name, a party offering to vote was informed by the election officer that there were dots opposite his name because of his not having paid his tax. Uuder the new régime, therefore, publication was made not only of the names of those who were apparently qualified voters, but of those who the ward officers had been able to ascertain were in fact qualified voters. There was no other resource at the time but to perpetuate that system with a view to improving upon it. In the second year of the existence of the board, in the first publication that we made, we dropped eighteen thousand names of those who had previously been published as registered voters, inasmuch as they had not paid a tax. The law reads in the past tense, “Who shall have paid a tax," and the evidence not appearing that a tax had been paid by these persons, their names were accordingly dropped. In that year we dropped, I think, altogether, in round figures, twenty seven thousand names-eighteen thousand at one election and nine thousand at another-so that when we published a list of qualified voters, that list represented bona fide actual, qualified voters only; these being, first, those who had an actual residence in Boston, as certified to by the assessors; and, second, those who had paid a tax within two years, as certified to by the tax collector. Of course, this action on the part of the board created a great deal of commotion at the time, as nineteen thousand persons who found that their pames were otf were obliged to pay their taxes in order to get upon the list, which they did before the election day (the whole nineteen thousand having voted in the next year, and the city treasury being benefited by the tax payments) and the list has gradually grown until it represents, as it did at the last election, fifty-three thousand registered voters. The method of making the voting-list is very simple. It is this: In the month of May the board of assessors commence assessing the streets, the city being divided into thirty-three districts. After the first of May the returns of the assessors are made to the registrars, daily, for the forty-five days during which period the assessors are assessing upon the streets.
Q. The assessors are allowed forty-five days in which to make the assessments of the city ?-A. Yes, sir; and after the assessment upon the streets is closed, persons qualified can be assessed. These latter are termed supplementary assessments and continue until the 1st of September, when, by law, the assessment for men ceases. The assess. ment for women continues until the 15th of September. The method of compiling the list is to take the voting list of the last year, precinct by precinct, and compare it with the assessors' return of each precinct for this year. In every instance in which a person is found to have been a resident of Boston, for instance, in May, 1879, the pumber of the page upon which the name appears on the tax assessor's book is placed against his name as printed in the voting list of 1878. That settles the consti. tutional requirement, which establishes his residence in the city of Boston six months prior to the election. That being completed the twenty-fiye ward collectors' books are also compared with the lists of voters of tbe previous year, and every man who has made payment of a tax is cred. ited with having paid his tax. During the last week in August every name upon that list which does not have opposite to it the page of the assessment of 1879 and the check representing the payment of a tax within two years is erased from the list, and the names remaining are published as those of the qualitied voters of the city on the day of pub. lication. Sub-offices are theu kept open in every ward from five until ten o'clock p. m. for the registry of such persons as are not upon the list and desire to be there. Of the parties applying for registration, a person who is on the voting list for last year who has been assessed this year, and who has been dropped for non-payment of tax has his name restored to the voting-list upon presentation of his receipted tax-bill. Eis name appearing once on the voting.list as qualified, consequently he is always qualified so far as the constitutional requirements of a reading and writing capacity are concerned; that is, he is not requalified as to those. Those requirements are insisted upon for all persons who never have voted in the city of Boston prior to making their application to us. All naturalized citizens have to produce a certificate as proof of naturaliza. tion, are obliged to read the Constitution of the United States, and write their names, so that “the voting.list,” as we term it, represents three classes : old voters, new voters, and naturalized voters.
By Mr. BLAIR: Q. Do you mean that they are arranged in separate lists !-A. No, sir; they are simply known by us as such upon our records. The new voters sign their autographs in a book marked “ New voters," the naturalized in a book called “Naturalized voters," and the old voters who appear and go upon record are entered upon our office books, but are not required to give autographs. All these go upon the lists, no distinction being made on the lists as to the classes I have named. When Boston was a small city of twelve wards, the manner of distinguishing names on the voting lists with reference to duplicates was by printing in italics the occupation of a man after his name. If there were three John Browns, one John Brown would be marked a baker, the second a laborer, and the third a cooper, but with the influx of immigration and the increased growth of the city, there naturally followed an increase of duplicate names, so that to day the Boston directory will show, in some instances, two, three, and five pages of a duplication of the same name. The simple addition of the statement of a man's occupation ceased to be an effective means of identification, because where five John Browns would be assessed on the same street and five John Browns on another street and all alike laborers, the distinction as to individuality was lost. In order to remedy that difficulty I devoted some time to an investigation of the registration systems of other communities, and visited the cities of Philadelphia, New York, and Brooklyn. I found that the lists in use there were not available inasmuch as they were not based upon an assessment similar to ours. It is only where the payment of taxes is a prerequisite of voting, and the other peculiarities here accompany it, that the system could be of any use here. Our board of registrars made the subject a study for many months and finally devised the system that is now in use, namely, of paging every page of an assessor's book and of indicating every line on each page, beginning with the first letter of the alphabet at the top of the page and running down. In this way each name upon that page is credited with a particular letter to indicate the line of the page upon which it appears, and the letter of the line and the number of the page is transferred to the tax-bill of the party paying his tax, copied from there by the registrars and placed opposite to the name upon the registry.list. That remedied the entire trouble, so that if every man in the city of Boston was named John Smith there would not be the slightest confusion in the duplication of nameş upon the printed lists of voters, as the letter and number would preserve the identity of each. We will suppose that the question is raised in my own case when I come to vote. In order to prove my qualifications, I state my name and produce my tax-bill, and this latter, taken in connec. tion with the letter and number upon the registry, will at once prove or disprove my identity. My voting precinct is number one, ward eight. The record of the assessor's book would read, “Ward eight, page fortyone, line R," and by turning to the place indicated my assessment would be found. In the voting.list the entry would be ' R 41, Howard, Ed. ward J." If I present a tax-bill marked " K 37," then I certainly do not vote, but the warden will patiently wait until a tax-bill is presented on which appears " R 41.” It follows that if the entire ward eight consisted of Edward J. Howards, I could never be defrauded of my vote by reason of any inherent defect in the registry-list.
Q. This system prevents any personation ?-A. Wholly. It is abso. lutely in the interest of the voter. It is possible for fraud to be committed by parties assuming the names of others. That we have tried to prevent as far as ve could. I will give you au instance in which an attempt at fraud in this way was detected in our office by me. A party giving the name of " Samuel," when asked to sign his name, wrote, from the force of habit, “George.” That party we have prosecuted.
Q. But under your system of registering the party would not only be compelled to personate a name but would be obliged to forge the taxbill 1-A. That is true; he must possess the genuine number on the tax-bill. We have known of parties who would loan their tax-bills for the purpose. I now recollect an instance in which a man, native born, presented a naturalization paper before me in order to get registered. Casually running my eye down over the paper, I noticed that the date of it was "1872." I asked him how long it had been since he took that paper out, and he answered, “Two years." I promptly told him that his bill under the statute would be $90, $30 for each false answer: first, in stating that the name on the paper was his own; second, that the paper was his own; third, that he was the individual to whom the bill had been issued. He immediately fell upon his knees in great fright and declared, “ Before God I am innocent;" that he had happened to drop into his club, when the president told him he must take those papers, assume to be the party, and be put through. I am not much of a judge of political clubs as a whole, but we have been rather careful of club iustructions since then.
Q. You were able, then, from the list you had and the scrutiny you were in the habit of observing, to detect that man ?-A. I took it that a paper dated in 1872 must have been taken out more than two years prior to 1878. But the attempts at frauds were not confined to naturalization papers by any means. There is a systematic dodging of an. swers upon other matters. Indeed the most careful discrimination is required in various ways Many parties, after being assessed in the city of Boston on the 1st of May, leave here in consequence of friends being taken sick, or for other reasons, and go to New York or elsewhere, getting back to Boston about three weeks before the election, when they