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appear in a column, he places a cross in the little square at the head of the column. If for any reason the voter is unable to make the cross, he may call upon one of the two assisting clerks (selected, one from each of the two leading political parties) to do this for him. Each voter folds his own ballot, and the presiding officer deposits it in the ballot-box.
At the closing of the polls the board of civil authority (selectmen, justices of the peace, and town clerk), assisted by the deputy clerks, and the ballot-clerks, count the votes.
Town Taxes.—By vote the legal voters in town-meeting lay taxes on the taxable polls and property of the town. Taxes when not provided for in this way are assessed by the selectmen as the law directs.
Each town has listers (varying in number from three to five) who make up the grand list of the town as a basis of taxation. By the grand list we mean the sum of the property list and the poll list of a town, the property list being one per cent of the appraised valuation of all taxable property, and the poll list $2 for every man (not specially exempt) over twenty-one and under seventy years of age. Example: The appraised valuation of all the taxable property of the town of Northfield for one year was $1,124,571 ; the number of taxable polls was 680 and the poll tax (82 a head) $1,360. Hence $11,245.71 (one per cent of the appraised valuation of the property) plus $1,360, or $12,605.71 was the grand list of that year.
The taxes are either paid directly to the town treasurer or are collected by a town tax collector and paid into the town treasury.
A City Government. The city has practically the same duties and powers as a town; but conducts its local affairs in a different way, according to a special charter granted it by the State Legislature. As a city has usually a large number of people to govern, it is for convenience ordinarily divided into small districts called wards. The chief executive is the mayor.
He is the city's governor, and it is his duty to see that the laws are obeyed.
Each ward elects an alderman, and these acting together constitute the legislative department of the city. The mayor and the aldermen together are called the city council. The council appoint certain officers, assess taxes, and make laws called ordinances for the city.
The city treasurer, clerk, auditors, and other officers perform such duties for the city as similar officers do for the towns and other governments. Each city may elect a representative to the General Assembly.
A Village Government.—The chief purposes for which villages are incorporated are the care of sidewalks, lighting of streets, laying out and caring for parks, constructing waterworks and sewers, maintaining of police forces, and so on. Village meetings are called in which officers are elected, and taxes are assessed. The village government has its clerk, treasurer, and other officers. Its chief executive officers are its trustees, or bailiffs, whose duties for the village are similar to those of the selectmen for the town. They also make such laws for the village as they think proper, and are the lawmaking body of the village government. Vermont has at present forty-three incorporated villages. There are also some school districts incorporated by special act of the Legislature; but most schools now come wholly under the town system, which has been explained elsewhere.
What a Court is.—The judicial department of any government consists of its courts. We have said that our government has a set of men, called justices or judges, who decide what the law is and how it is to be applied. When they meet for this purpose they are said to hold court. There is also another set of men called the jury, who in jury trials decide on the facts in dispute; and these, together with the judges, form also a court.
Judges.- The judges of the different courts are elected biennially. The judges of the supreme court are sev in number, and are chosen by the General Assembly. All others are elected in freemen's meetings,—the assistant judges of the county court by the freemen of the county, the judges of probate by the freeman of the probate districts, and the justices of the peace by the freemen of the respective towns.
The salary of the judges of the supreme court is fixed by law; at present it is $3,000 a year, with an additional
away from home on judicial busi
Juries.—A grand jury of a county consists of eighteen men. It is called once a year, but may be called twice if deemed necessary. When a person is accused of crime the grand jurors examine the charge against him to see whether, in their opinion, the accused ought to be brought to trial. If two-thirds of the jurors believe him to be guilty, he is indicted and in due time brought to trial.
The grand jury also makes inquiries to learn whether or not the towns of the county have been faithful in observing certain laws.
About thirty petit jurymen are chosen in each county. Twelve of these are selected and sworn for each case tried by jury in county court and these are called a panel. It is their duty to determine what the facts are in such criminal and civil cases as are presented to them for trial. The unanimous vote of a jury is necessary for a verdict.
Both the grand and petit jurymen are chosen by the towns in March meetings, the board of civil authority making nominations therefor. The names of the persons so elected are forwarded to the county clerk and placed in boxes. The county judges prescribe the number of jurymen to be drawn from the several towns in the county, and deliver to the sheriff of the county an order accordingly. Without looking into the box, the sheriff draws from it the number of names required; and the persons so drawn constitute the jury.
A Jury Trial.-If a citizen is accused of breaking the law, he is liable to be put in prison or otherwise punished as the law may direct; but he cannot be punished as a criminal unless he has been duly tried in a court of justice and found guilty.
That we may see how such a trial is conducted, let us suppose that some one has been guilty of crime and that we are following the successive steps to his conviction.
Complaint is made to a justice of the peace that a theft has been committed. The justice then issues a warrant authorizing the sheriff to arrest the person charged with the crime. The sheriff makes the arrest and brings the accused before the justice, who has a hearing and examines wit