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(Cumulative voting.)

scheme than by the case of Vermont; in that state, there are, in round numbers, 60,000 voters, of whom 40,000 are members of the republican party, and 20,000 of the democratic party; by law, that state is entitled to three representatives in congress. Now, what ought to take place? The majority should elect two representatives, having 40,000 votes, and the minority should elect one, having 20,000 votes; but can that be so, in point of fact, at present? If the electors of that state vote for three representatives, by general ticket, the majority would elect the whole three; if the state be divided up into single districts, it is a matter of chance (or rather, perhaps, a matter of honesty in the political majority of the legislature) how the result will be, whether all three districts will have majorities of the same political complexion or not. By cumulative voting, by authorizing the 20,000 minority electors of the state to give each three votes to one candidate, that candidate would receive 60,000 votes, and the majority could not defeat him; the majority, voting for two representatives, could elect them, but they could not elect the third. Suppose they attempt to vote for three candidates, they can only give each of them 40,000 votes, and the minority candidate has 60,000; if they attempt to vote for two, as they ought to do, that being the number they are entitled to, they can give them 60,000 votes each, the same number the minority candidate has; if they attempted to vote for one, they would give that one candidate 120,000; but, of course, they would not thus throw away their votes. The practical result would be, that the 40,000 majority electors in that state would vote for two candidates and elect them, and the 20,000 minority electors would vote for one and elect him.

Having exhausted the list of states which elect less than four members, we find that twenty-four remain; of these, Connecticut, South Carolina and Texas each elect four members, and the remainder, various numbers, up to New

(Cumulative voting.)

York which chooses thirty-one; they may be taken together in this examination, as an additional, though by far the most important class of states; they choose 218 out of the 243 members of the house. In this class, all the great states are before us, and all of secondary rank, challenging the wisdom of congress to reform and amend our political system, in some effectual manner; for our country has, in some respects, outgrown the system provided for us by our ancestors; new necessities press upon us, great evils afflict us, and it has become the duty of statesmen, not merely to administer or to carry on our plan of government, but to amend it also; and to this end, we are to invite and welcome the best thoughts of men, abroad and at home, upon political reform, and give them, as far as possible, application and practical effect. Now, there can be no question that, if parties in the great states obtain representation according to the number of their votes, one of the greatest possible reforms in a republican government will be secured. All the arguments heretofore mentioned apply to those states with special force, because they contribute the main body of members to the house, and a defective plan of election operates within them with extensive effect. As to them, reform will be most important and useful, and no reasonable effort should be spared in attempting to apply it.

We have, in fact, as to the great states, no point left for examination, except the single one of practicability. Will the free vote work, and work well, in the great states? Those who distrust popular intelligence and judgment may deny, whilst those who confide in the people will affirm the practicability of the plan. But there is one leading consideration which is decisive upon this question; it is, that where free action shall be permitted, each political party will pursue its own interests with activity, intelligence and zeal, and will inevitably obtain for itself its due share of representative power. Thus, where a party shall have one-third of the popular vote of the state,

(Cumulative voting.)

it will cumulate its vote upon one-third the number of representatives to be chosen; where parties are nearly equal in strength in a state, the weaker one will cumulate its vote upon one-half the number of persons to be chosen, or within one of that number; where a party has a small majority in a state, and particularly where it is increasing in numbers, it will cumulate its vote upon one or two more than one-half the number of candidates; and finally, in states with large delegations, a party with so small a vote as one-fourth or one-fifth the whole number, will cumulate its vote upon the small number of one, two, three or more representatives, according to the proportion which its vote shall bear to the total vote of the state. The due working of the plan is secured by the selfish interests with which it deals, and it is a matter of congratulation that, under it, the very efforts of parties to secure power for themselves, will result in justice, that is, in the division of power between them according to their respective numbers.

It is idle to say, that voting in the great states will be confused and uncertain; on the contrary, it will run according to party organization, at all times, and will adjust itself, naturally and inevitably, to all changes of opinion and organization in the political body; and as political parties constantly divide society into parts, the relative strength of which can, at any time, be approximately stated, there need be no uncertainty nor confusion in the polling of votes. Even in times of transition and change, when popular power is departing from one party and attaching itself to another, or when some third party takes ground upon a particular issue, or faction diverts a fragmentary vote from a great party, the amount of disturbance, and consequent uncertainty produced, will not be considerable, and can be readily estimated, for all practical purposes, in fixing the number of candidates which any party shall support. The merit or practicability of a rule of elections is not to be judged upon a supposition which

(Cumulative voting.)

is unlikely or exceptional; but even in the cases supposed, the elements of error and mistake will be reduced to their smallest possible quantity. Where the relative strength of parties is uncertain, that is, cannot be exactly known or estimated, or where the boundary of power between them is near the dividing line between ratios of representation, it will rarely happen, that a mistake will be made beyond the extent of one member, and the general result for the state will be but slightly disturbed.

The argument for reform may be summed up in a few words; by it we will obtain cheap elections, just representation, and contentment among the people; by it we will also secure able men in the people's house; by it our political system will be invigorated and purified; by it our country will "take a bond of the future," that our government shall be a blessing and not a curse; that our prosperity shall be enduring; that our free institutions "shall not perish from the face of the earth."

The state of Pennsylvania has recently legalized the cumulative or free vote in the election of members of town councils, by the acts of 4th March 1870 and 2d June 1871. Purd. Dig. 1647.



to petition, form of, 538.

by whom administered, 544.


to petition, when allowed, 337, 349, 353, 477.
requisites of, 337, 349, 477.

of answer, not granted during the hearing, 349, 477.

not allowed by legislative committee, 350.

not reviewable in appellate court, 538, 548.


in contested election case, 538, 555-7.
what questions may be reviewed, 538.


privilege of electors from, 277.
and of election officers, 280.


if the law require the election to be by, vivâ voce
votes are void, 126.


definition of, 37.

nature of, 86.


not allowed in contested election cases, 467.


nature of, 41.

controlled by the constitution proper, 41.

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