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THE NEW ELECTION LAWS.
ELECTION DAY, NOVEMBER 8, 1892.
Suggestions to the Political Committees and Election Officers.
THE NEW ELECTION CODE,
The State of New York will hold its State election in 1892 upon Tuesday, November 8. The election of a President of the United States takes place the same day, and the voters of the State will, therefore, ballot for presidential electors as well as for State officials. There will be elected at this election the following officers :
Thirty-six Presidential Electors.
A Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.
One hundred and twenty-eight Assemblymen.
Two Supreme Court Judges.
Three County Judges.
Ten County Clerks.
Thirty-four District Attorneys.
Five County Treasurers.
A Mayor of New York and several other cities.
The Legislature of 1892, passed laws reapportioning the congressional districts, reducing the number of election inspectors in New York from four to three, and modifying
the Ballot Reform Law in some essential particulars. It then passed an election code, prepared by Professor Charles A. Collin, of the law department of Cornell University, Daniel Magone, of Ogdensburgh, former Collector of New York, and ex-Senator John J. Linson, of Kingston, the members of the Statutory Revision Commission. These same gentlemen also prepared a penal code containing all the laws punishing violations of the election laws of the State. This penal code also became a law.
Messrs. Collin, Magone and Linson in their election code have combined in one statute all former election laws from 1842 to 1892; so that one can find in one law the ballot reform acts, the registration acts, the primary election acts, the laws relating to the county boards of canvassers and the State board of canvassers, and the laws concerning the election of Congressmen and of electors of President and Vice-President.
All former clection laws of the State, except those contained in city charters, are repealed; and city elections themselves are affected in a large degree by the Election Code. Thus chapter 262 of the Laws of 1890, the original ballot reform law, and the amendatory act passed in 1891, are repealed, and the ballot reform provisions of the election laws are put in the new Election Code. The Ballot Reform Act is changed in form by the revisers, its language greatly modified, sections of it are transposed; and all in all these modifications are so numerous that every election officer will find it prudent to carefully examine the Election Code in these respects before attempting to execute his duties.
CHANGES IN THE BALLOT LAW.
The members of the Statutory Revision Commission made several changes of importance in the Ballot Reform Law. By one amendment it is provided that the designation of the polling place for which each official ballot is prepared shall be made upon the face of the "stub" instead' of upon the back of the ballots, as under the Ballot Reform Acts of 1889 and 1890. The designation of the polling place
upon the back of the ballot would easily lead to its identification if it should be used at the wrong polling place, and it was to prevent the loss of their votes by innocent voters using such misplaced ballots that the Legislature of 1892 made the amendment to the Ballot Reform Act described. So much for the face of the stub.
The back of the "stub" is to contain, as in 1890 and 1891, only the printed number of each official ballot. On the back of each official ballot, below the stub, there is to be printed in great primer Roman condensed capitals, the indorsement "official ballot for.... and after the word "for" there is to follow the date of the election, and a fac simile of the signature of the officer or clerk of the board providing the ballots, except that ballots containing the names of candidates for commissioners of excise of towns are to be indorsed "excise" only and other ballets for town meetings not held at the same time with the general election are to be indorsed "town" only.
The names of all offices to be filled are to be printed upon the face of each ballot below the perforated line separating the ballot from its "stub." The law declares that the names of the offices to be filled shall be printed upon every ballot "in brevier lower-case type within the spaces respectively allowed therefor." It further declares that "under the name of each office stated upon the ballot" the name of each candidate nominated therefor by or by virtue of the kind of certificates to which such kind of ballot corresponds shall be printed in brevier capitals within the spaces respectively allowed therefor. The names on each ballot shall be in a single column, except that the names of candidates for presidential electors and the names of inspectors of election, if ten or more, shall be in two columns. If the full number of candidates for the offices specified on any one kind of ballots shall not have been nominated by or in pursuance of the certificates from which such kind of ballots is prepared, blank spaces shall be left on each ballot of such kind where the names of candidates would appear except for such failure to nominate."
PROHIBITION OF USE OF NAME.
The members of the Statuatory Revision Commission also put in a more decisive form in the Election Code the caveat clause; the provision enabling party candidates to prohibit the printing of their names upon the ballots as independent candidates. That clause read as follows in the amended Ballot Act of 1891:
"The name of a person nominated under the provisions of section 3 (in relation to party nominations) of this act shall not be placed upon a ticket put in nomination by certificate as prescribed by section 5 (in relation to independent nominations) of this act, when such person shall have given notice at least fifteen days before election to the officers with whom his original certificate of nomination was filed by a writing signed and duly acknowledged that he does not wish his name placed upon such ticket. There shall also be as many different kinds of ballots as may be required to comply with the directions herein before authorized of the person or persons designated and appointed as provided in section 5 of this act upon certificates of nomination, but the person or persons so designated and appointed shall not require the name of any candidate nominated in such a certificate to be printed upon more than one kind of ballot."
Messrs. Collin, Magone and Linson made this amendment read as follows:
"The name of a person having a party nomination shall not be placed upon an official ballot of independent nomination, if such person shall have given notice at least fifteen days before the election for which the ballot is prepared, to the officer with whom his party certificate of nomination is filed, by a writing signed and acknowledged by him, that he does not wish his name placed upon any ballot of independent nomination, or upon such particular ballot of independent nomination.”
PERIOD OF INDEPENDENT NOMINATIONS CHANGED.
Messrs. Collin, Magone and Linson furthermore in their election code have lengthened the period between election day and the final day when such nominations can be made and the printing of official ballots be secured. For instance,
under the original Ballot Reform Act of 1890 and the amended Ballot Reform Act of 1891 an independent nomination for a State office could be filed with the Secretary of State up to a day within fifteen days of election day. The new Election Code provides that no independent nomination for a State office can be filed later than a day within twenty days of election day. Formerly it will also be observed independents had ten days after a party nomination was made for a State office, if it was delayed to the last possible moment, to make their nominations for the same office. Under the amendment just made this period is shortened up to five days.
The same principle of increasing the period between election day and the final day when independent certificates can be filed is pursued in the Election Code regarding the lesser offices. Thus under the Ballot Reform Act of 1890 and the amended Ballot Reform Act of 1891 an independent nomination for a county office could be filed with a county clerk, or if New York, with the board of police commissioners, or if in Brooklyn, with the board of elections, up to a period within twelve days before election. Under the Election Code this period is lengthened by three days; no independent nomination papers can be filed in a less period than fifteen days. The interval here between the final filing of party nomination papers, and the final filing of independent nomination papers, is five days. It was eight days.
NOMINATIONS IN MINOR CITIES.
Provision is made in the Election Code, as it was not in either the Ballot Reform Act of 1890, or the Amended Ballot Reform Act of 1891, for the filing of nomination papers in the minor cities of the State. The period before election day when the final papers can be filed, is somewhat less than in New York and Brooklyn. Thus the Election Code declares that those certificates "required to be filed with the city clerk of any other city (than Brooklyn and New York"), if party nominations must be filed "at least ten and not more than twenty days; if inde