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often, also, party leaders compel corporations to pay heavily for securing permits to which they are legitimately entitled, and in such instances corporations usually find it easier to pay than to go to law or argue.
Mr. H. H. Vreeland, prominent in financial circles in New York City, testified during a grand jury investigation in 1908 that he had contributed five years before on behalf of a certain corporation $20,000 to Mr. Odell, chairman of the Republican state committee and $16,500 to Mr. Murphy, leader of the Tammany Democracy in New York City. The way in which the Metropolitan Street Railway Company had to deal with New York politicians he further described in the following testimony:
QUESTION: In these corporate ventures that you have been connected with of a large character, have you found that the favors to politicians, contributions to political parties, election expenses, have been of value or were commonly esteemed to be of value to the corporation? ANSWER: I have found that they were esteemed to be of value. QUESTION: Is it necessary for the Metropolitan Street Railway to open the streets of New York a great deal? ANSWER: Yes, Sir.
QUESTION: Whenever they want to open a street they have to get the permit countersigned by the Borough President and the Commissioner of Gas, Electricity, and Water Supply? ANSWER: Yes, Sir.
QUESTION: Each of them has got to sign a permit before it is opened? ANSWER: Yes, Sir, and whenever the property is adjacent to a park it has to be signed by the park official.
QUESTION: An antagonistic water, gas, or electricity official could impede somewhat the work of the railroad company in the city here? ANSWER: Very materially.
QUESTION: Did you ever have any experience with being impeded in that way? ANSWER: Yes, Sir; I have a number of instances. QUESTION: And afterwards were those impediments withdrawn? ANSWER: They were.
QUESTION: Withdrawn without legal process? ANSWER: Yes, Sir. QUESTION: Was the method of securing those withdrawals such that led you to believe that it had been by cultivating in some way the favor of these officials? ANSWER: There was no action of any kind that would give me any impression on it, because a permit would be in the [proper city] office and under the best endeavor we could not get it, and all of a sudden it was signed and sent up to our office.
QUESTION: You have no doubt in your own mind as to why the
1 New York Times, April 23, 1908.
permit was given - somebody was "seen," and therefore the permit was given? ANSWER: I would have a very strong idea that something had been done.
5. The most despicable source of party revenue is that derived from the protection of saloons, gambling, and vice in every form. The extent to which this opportunity is exploited is, of course, difficult to determine; but indisputable evidence from cities as far apart as San Francisco and New York illustrates only too painfully the way in which party war chests are sometimes augmented by stained money drawn from criminal elements to which police immunity is afforded.1
Although the exact amount of money collected by various political organizations from time to time is difficult to ascertain, the total levied in any year of a general election undoubtedly reaches a fabulous sum, and this money is applied largely to the conduct of campaigns, although some portions of it frequently find their way into the private exchequers of party leaders. It is spent for printing, advertising, hiring halls, securing speakers, and paying the rank and file of party workers. Undoubtedly large sums find their way through some of the election district captains to venal voters. The extent of the purchasable vote is, of course, impossible to state; but a careful study of Rhode Island made some years ago placed it between ten and twentyfive per cent of the total number. Every worker in practical politics, although he may not acknowledge it, probably knows that votes are bought, sometimes grossly by outright purchase at a fixed price, and at other times in more subtle ways, as for example, by paying railway fares and expenses for electors going home to vote, paying countrymen to come out to vote, and employing party workers with the tacit understanding that they have little or nothing to do.
It is by no means through money alone that the party organization may maintain its strength. The party, like a church or any other organization, may be used as a social club through which the young man may make valuable acquaintances who can help him in securing business, clients, or patients as the case may be. The very power of the party organization thus enables it 1 For the testimony of Police Captain Schmittberger before the Lexow Investigating Committee in New York, see Readings, pp. 505-508.
2 See article on "Venal Voting," in the Forum for October, 1892.
to intrench itself by drawing within its rank the best energies and talents of young men who, though by no means void of patriotic motives, cannot be oblivious to the stern necessities of the struggle for existence. In some cities, it is well for the young lawyer practising in certain courts to be known as a prominent worker in the party to which the presiding judges belong. A Democratic doctor in a strongly Republican district of some northern city would doubtless find his rise in the world somewhat handicapped if he were overzealous in the support of his party, and a belligerent Republican lawyer in a southern city might very well find his business limited to practice in the federal courts. The subtle influences of party control are doubtless more powerful than the gross influences which appear upon the surface.
The last, but by no means the least, powerful element in organized politics is the management of the voters. Party leaders and workers assist the poor voters by a thousand charitable acts. They give outings, picnics, clam-bakes, and celebrations for them; they help the unemployed to get work with private corporations or in governmental departments; they pay the rent of sick and unfortunate men about to be dispossessed; they appear in court for those in trouble, and often a word to the magistrate saves the voter from the workhouse or even worse; they remember the children at Christmas; and, in short, they are the ever watchful charity agents for their respective neighborhoods. A kind word and a little money in time of pressing need often will go further than an eloquent tract on civic virtue.' Thus politics as it works through party organization is a serious and desperately determined business activity; it works night and day; it is patient; it gets what it can; it never relents.
The frequent abuses connected with party organizations and operations, as we have seen, have led to elaborate laws controlling the entire election process from the enrolment of the voters to the final review of the official count. It is impossible to set down here in any detail the provisions of the election law of a single state, the election law of New York is a volume of 1 See Readings, pp. 579 ff.
2 Above, p. 139.
about 250 pages of ordinary print, but the following principles are now to be found in the legislation of any fairly advanced commonwealth:
1. Certain officers- the secretary of state, county clerks, are placed in charge and in some instances special authorities of the entire election process.
2. Provisions are made for bi-partisan boards of poll clerks, ballot clerks, and election inspectors in each polling place within the state.
3. Duly authorized watchers from each party may be present at each polling place in order to secure a fair count.
4. Standard and official tally sheets, or records, on which to make the returns of each polling place, are furnished, and all returns must be certified by the proper officers in charge.
5. Special arrangements are made to police polling places, and saloons are usually closed on election days.
6. In order to secure to every citizen, properly qualified, the right to vote, official registers of voters are prepared before each election, and each citizen is entitled to enter his name so that on election day his right may be realized. A most drastic scheme for preventing false registration was created in New York, in 1908, by a law requiring the personal identification of voters in cities of 1,000,000 or more inhabitants. According to this law the voter, on registering, in addition to answering the ordinary questions, must give the number of the floor or room in which he lives and the name of the householder or tenant with whom he lives; he is furthermore required to sign his name if he can write, and when on election day he appears to vote he must again sign his name opposite the first signature. In case the voter is unable to write, he must answer a long list of questions with regard to his private affairs, residence, and employment; and when he appears on election day he is required to answer the same questions. By a comparison of the signatures or the answers to the questions, the election officials are able to detect frauds and thus prevent from voting a large number of "floaters" and 'repeaters." There is no doubt but what the effect of the law has been most salutary.
7. Finally, we have a long line of important legislation on the ballot - designed to prevent intimidation by securing secrecy 1 California already had a similar law.
to the voter, and to encourage independent and discriminating choice from among the various candidates in place of the blind acceptance of party nominations. Legislation of this character is now so prominently before the public and the principles involved are so important that it seems desirable to go into the matter at some length,' elaborating the general statements made above.2
Prior to 1888 the printing of ballots for use in the election of public officers, and their distribution to the voters, was left to private initiative-subject generally to a few statutory regulations as to their size, color, form, etc., chiefly designed to produce uniformity and to prevent the use of misleading or deceitful forms of ballot. In actual practice the ballots were printed and distributed by the several party organizations, prepared by the voters in case any "scratching" of party candidates was to be done before going to the polls, and, when taken to the polling place on election day, merely deposited in the ballot-box in plain view of all present.
In most of the states the statutory provisions dealing in any way with the preparation or use of ballots were comparatively brief and simple. The Kansas law of 1868 is a fair example.3 Its provisions are as follows:
"§ 7. Manner of voting. Each elector shall, in full view, deliver to one of the judges of election a single ballot or piece of paper, on which shall be written or printed the names of the persons voted for, with a proper designation of the office which he or they may be intended to fill.
"§ 8. Duty of Judge; ballots how disposed of. The judge to whom any ticket may be delivered shall, upon the receipt thereof, pronounce, in an audible voice, the name of the elector, and, if no objection shall be made to him, and the judge is satisfied that the elector is legally entitled, according to the constitution and laws of this state, to vote at the election, he shall immediately put the ticket in the box without inspecting the names written or printed thereon, and the clerks of the
1 NOTE. - For the entire statement given here with regard to recent ballot legislation I am indebted to Mr. Arthur Crosby Ludington, who has generously prepared the manuscript for me after long and critical examination of the whole subject. For a fuller account, see his article in the South Atlantic Quarterly for January, 1910, and his chapter in the New York Library Bulletin of Legislation for 1910.
2 See above, p. 141.
Gen. Stat., 1868, ch. 36, Art. 2.