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chines, but they have it within their power to become the mightiest of electioneering agents, and to compel great classes into voting as they wish. In this respect, and notably when in Republican hands, the District Attorney's office has sometimes been a very powerful political engine. It has never been very difficult to tell how the liquor dealers, gamblers, dance-house keepers, and the drunken and disorderly generally would vote: like other people, they are very careful to look out for number one. The community thought that the law entitling them to watchers at the canvass of the vote after the close of the polls would secure thern an honest count, but the Board of Police appoint the canvassers and poll-clerks whom the machinists select, and the intelligent and ingenious policeman, if a partisan, need never long want an excuse for ejecting the official watchers from the room, as more than one reputable but misguided man who has volunteered to serve as such can testify.
The Machine suffices for all things, even for the support of a powerful newspaper organ. Nothing could excel the simplicity of the device by which a certain daily paper in this city was at a critical
time kept alive as a distributor of news, as a defender of the "bosses," and at the same time made self-supporting, and even enabled to pay a dividend on its stock, the majority of which was held by those very bosses. There are a good many liqnor dealers in New York; they are numbered by thousands, and are all required to have licenses. These licenses are given by the Board of Excise. This board, being agreed on party policy, had only to demand of every liquor dealer the production of his receipt for one or more subscriptions to the daily organ before granting a license, and the circulation of the paper was assured, and in those very places, the liquor stores and political exchanges, where it would do most good. And this is no fanciful case, but matter of party history.
The Machine finds but little difficulty in raising the necessary funds to defray its expenses. This is particularly the case with the majority Machines, whose nominations are equivalent to elections. They can collect largely from actual office-holders, and can practically put up the offices at auction to the highest, bidder, and impose such assessments as they see fit. If the natural expenses of a campaign are heavy, so much the better for the Machine,
and so much the worse for the people. The Machine can raise the money; the advocates of an independent and honest movement cannot. And yet in the long-run the people pay these expenses. They are unwilling to contribute to secure good government, but in effect they contribute to perpetuate the bad; for those who pay the assessments to run the Machine get the money from the people by way of salaries, and eventually it all comes into the tax budget. But the average ratepayer is politically torpid, or timid and shortsighted.
It will be seen from this survey, as well as from what is to follow, that the Machine is built up on the spoils of place, and the necessity for voluntary provision by the electors of an extra-legal election machinery.
THE ELECTION LAWS.
In endeavoring to eliminate from the mass of rumor and general indefinite knowledge definite facts, as nearly as they are ascertainable, concerning the expenditure of money in elections, whether paid out of the public treasury or by individuals, and the manner of its collection and disbursement, it is necessary, after knowing something of the organization of the Machine, to understand the election laws. That the facts are such as to demonstrate the existence of a great evil, we all know in a rongh-and-ready way. How great that evil is, and exactly how it affects and modifies the purposes for which the law invests us all with the elective franchise, can only be known, however, when the facts are laid before us with something of the exactness and definiteness of a financial statement; and while, to my mind, there is no question of the day of greater importance than
this, there is none concerning which accurate data are more difficult of ascertainment. The figures given in the newspapers or talked of at the clubs are rarely to be relied upon, although sometimes approximately correct. The men who raise and the men who expend the money, as a rule, keep their knowledge to themselves; and one not in the secret is rarely if ever able to discover the amount of money spent at an election by parties as parties, or by the individual candidates as such. The very secretness of the ways in which the inoney is raised and disbursed renders the correct figures almost impossible of access. Nevertheless, it is necessary to get at them, not vaguely but accurately, if our work is to be more valuable than a lot of useless guesses or unreliable gossip.
In this regard we are in exactly the same position to-day that England was in prior to the passage of the Prevention of Corrupt Practices Act. There the public was regarded as being so plainly and clearly entitled to this knowledge that the amount of permissible expenditure by candidates is limited by law, and the candidate compelled to make a sworn statement of the amount expended. Here, however, we have no such aid to the discov