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President. In some such way each political party nominates its candidates. According to apportionment, Vermont sends eight delegates to a national convention.
We are entitled to cast as many votes for President as we have senators and representatives in Congress, and now conventions and caucuses are again called (if not otherwise provided), each State convention nominating two electors and each district convention one. Freemen's meetings are then held in each town in November to choose electors.
On the second Monday of the following January the four electors meet at the State Capitol and vote for President. They make three records of the vote, one of which they send by mail to the president of the Senate at Washington ; another they send sealed by special messenger to the same officer; and the third they deposit with the United States Judge of the district in which the meeting is held.
Here the responsibility of the State ends. The United States Senate and House now meet in joint Assembly, and the votes from all the States are counted ; and the candidate having a majority of the electoral votes is elected President. If no one has a majority, then the candidates (not exceeding three) having the highest number of votes are balloted upon in the House of Representatives, it now being left with that body to elect the President.
Now the National and the State governments are by no means the only governments under which we live. There are in addition the county and the town, or city ;
and some of us live under a village government perhaps. All these different governments must get along without interfering with one another, the lesser governments being subject to the greater and having power to make only such laws as the State and nation permit.
County Government. — The State is divided into counties, chiefly for convenience in holding courts, maintaining jails and court-houses, and preventing and punishing crimes. In many States each county has some sort of county board who make laws for the county ; but the counties of Vermont have no such board, the Legislature of the State acting as a lawmaking body for all the counties. The county has no President or Governor; but it has an executive department in that it has certain officers whose duty it is to see that the laws are carried out. Each county has a county-seat, or shire town, where the county court is held and where the jail and the court-house are located. Bennington County has two half-shire towns. The judicial department of the county will be considered under the head of " Courts."
County Officers.— The chief county officers are the sheriff, high bailiff, judges of probate, assistant judges, clerk, auditor, treasurer, State's attorney, examiner of teachers, and justices of the peace.
How the Officers are chosen.—The clerk, auditor, and treasurer are appointed by the county court. The clerk serves during the pleasure of the court; the term of office of the auditor and the treasurer is two years. The other county officers are elected biennially at the freemen's meeting and a plurality vote is required to elect.
Sheriff; High Bailiff.—It is the duty of the sheriff to serve writs and other processes; and, with the deputies which he appoints, preserve the peace and arrest persons charged with crime and confine them until they have a trial. They attend county court, and, during its sessions, have the custody of the prisoners, witnesses, and jury ; and, at the end of the trial, execute the sentence of the court. The sheriff has charge of the county jail, under the general direction of the assistant judges.
When, for any reason, the sheriff is disqualified to perform his duties, the high bailiff acts in his stead ; and may, for sufficient cause, imprison the sheriff, performing his duties during the time of imprisonment.
Judges.—The judges of probate and the assistant judges belong properly to the judicial department.
In addition to their judicial duties, the assistant judges have the care of the county property, and may buy or lease lands for the county, and may sell lands belonging to
it. They examine certain claims against the county, and may authorize a tax to pay county expenses.
Clerk; Treasurer ; Auditor.—The clerk, the treasurer, and the auditor perform such duties for the county as the corresponding State officers do for the State. One of the chief duties of the county clerk is to make records of the proceedings of the county and chancery courts held in his county, as well as a record of the proceedings of the supreme court of the State in cases arising in his county.
The treasurer cares for the funds of the county, paying them out only on the order of the county clerk.
The county auditor examines and approves the accounts of the treasurer and reports to the county judges.
States's Attorney.-Each county has an attorney whose duty it is to prosecute in behalf of the State all persons charged with the commission of crime or of offense against the law, in his county ; and to conduct such cases before the courts. He also prepares bills of indictment and takes measures to collect fines, costs, and the like, that are due to the county and State.
Examiner of Teachers.-Each county has an examiner of teachers, who is appointed biennially by the Governor and the State superintendent of education. He conducts the teachers' examinations of his county, helps the State superintendent in the holding of institutes and summer schools, and makes to the State superintendent a biennial report of the condition of schools in his county. While in actual service he receives $4 per day, with a daily allowance (not exceeding $2) for expenses.
Taxes.— To meet the expenses of the county, a county tax of one per cent may be levied by the assistant judges ; but, when a tax of more than one per cent is required the General Assembly fixes the amount. These taxes are collected by the towns with the town and State tax, and paid to the county treasurer on the order of the selectmen of the towns.
The Town a Government.--The counties are divided into towns. The town is a government in that it votes