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assessed at least two months and paid at least one month before the election. A female is not a qualified elector in Pennsylvania.
Australian Ballot System.-In most States what is known as the Australian Ballot System, or some modification of it, is now used. The system is designed to give a certain degree of privacy to the voter while he is making up his ballot, the printed form of which is furnished by the proper authorities. The election house or booth is divided into stalls with a shelf on which to write, and a pencil for marking the ballot. The voters take their places in the stalls and mark the ballots as they wish to vote them, free from the surveillance or watching of interested parties. It is believed that this system tends to purify the elections from the influence of men and money, since people are not so apt to pay money for votes when they have no way of seeing that they get what they pay for. The venal and unlawful use of money had become so common that elections were often carried by this means, and men, no matter how competent, who had not money to pay for the votes, had no chance of being chosen. This state of affairs led to the adoption of this system of voting in nearly all the States of the Union. It is used in township, county, State, and national elections. In Pennsylvania the law is known as the "Baker Ballot Law," a modification of the Australian system.
The officers chosen at the township election are: Two justices of the peace, one constable, three auditors, one assessor, one collector, one judge of elections, two inspectors of election, six school directors, three supervisors, one clerk, and one treasurer. All of these officers, except justices and school directors, begin their term on the first Monday of March following the election.
Justices of the Peace are chosen for five years, are commissioned by the governor, and begin their term on the first Monday of May following their election. They preside over justice courts, which are the lowest courts in the land, and the ones on which all others are founded. The justice hears and decides suits of every description growing out of disputes in regard to contracts, expressed or implied, which continually arise in society, except in such cases as involve the title to land, or breach of promise in marriage. Petty criminal offenses, and suits involving small amounts, under the value of $300, are tried here, though in most cases there is an appeal to the higher courts under certain conditions. Justices may perform the marriage ceremony. Their salaries consist of fees charged for services and collected of the parties to the suits. In cities justices are called magistrates. Vacancies are filled by the governor.
The Constable is elected for three years. He is commissioned by the court and is responsible for the peace of the community. He occupies the same position in township, ward, or borough, which is held by the sheriff in the county. He executes the orders of the justice of the peace, and when acting by order of the court his authority is supreme; if he is resisted he can call upon any citizen or citizens to assist him. For his services he receives fees fixed by law, varying with different kinds of service. Vacancies are filled by the Court of Quarter Sessions.
The Assessor is elected for three years. His duty is to examine and fix values on all taxable property (land, horses, cattle, dogs, money, etc.) found within the township. This valuation is made according to the best judgment of the assessor, but people who are not satisfied can appeal to the county commissioners, who act as a court of appeal in this matter. Assessors are paid $2.00 a day for their services, out of county funds, by the county commissioners, who also fill all vacancies.
TOWNSHIP OFFICERS (Continued).
The Auditors are elected for three years, one new one each year. The duties of the board of auditors are to examine the books and vouchers of the various
officers who have charge of township money, as treasurers for the board of supervisors, and school board. For this purpose they meet on the second Monday of March to audit all accounts of every kind except school accounts. They meet on the first Monday of June to audit school accounts. They certify to the correctness of the accounts, and publish annually a statement setting forth the receipts and expenditures of public money. They are paid $2.00 a day out of township money by the supervisors for all their services. They are also required to act as fence viewers, and to view and fix value upon all sheep killed by dogs, for which special services they receive $1.00 a day, to be paid by the owner of the sheep, or the delinquent party to the fence dispute. Vacancies are filled by the Court of Quarter Sessions.
The Collector is elected for three years and gives a bond annually, to be approved by the court, for the faithful performance of his duties. In Pennsylvania he has generally three kinds of tax to collect, a separate duplicate being furnished for each. The duplicate is a book having the names of all taxables in the township, with the valuation of property as given by the assessors. One of these duplicates is given out by the supervisors, in which the cash road tax is figured out as soon as the rate of levy for that purpose is made, which is usually early in April. Another is given him early in May, by the county commissioners, as soon as they make out the
levy for State, county, and poor purposes. In this duplicate is also put the tax on dogs. Still another is given out by the school board, as soon as the new board organizes in June, and the levy for school purposes is made. All electors whose occupation tax does not amount to $1.00 are assessed what is called a minimum occupation tax of $1.00 which is added to the school duplicate and goes into the school fund. On the receipt of each of these duplicates the collector gives notice to the taxpayers, and for sixty days from date of such notice they are entitled to a reduction of five per cent. After the expiration of six months an addition of five per cent is made to all taxes unpaid. The collector, we see, serves both the township and county. He receives as pay for his services two per cent on all taxes paid to him within sixty days of the date of his printed or posted notice, and five per cent on all paid after the expiration of the sixty days. Vacancies are filled by the Court of Quarter Sessions.
TOWNSHIP OFFICERS (Continued).
Two Supervisors* are elected each year, to serve one year, under the present general road law. This number may be increased by vote of a majority of electors; when increased, the term changes, if four
*Three supervisors are elected under the old road law in Erie, Franklin, Bradford, Luzerne, Susquehanna, Venango, Warren, and Wayne counties. In Crawford county a special law requires the election of four supervisors, one for each road district. Two are elected each year, to serve two years.