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Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton.

California. Commission for examining voting machines. Report to the senate and assembly, 33rd session of the legislature online

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appropriated out of any moneys in the state treasury not
otherwise appropriated, for the purposes of this act, to be ex-
pended by such commission, as herein provided. All claims
against this appropriation must be presented to, and allowed
by the State Board of Examiners.

SEC. 6. This act shall take effect immediately.



APPENDIX "B".

Oakland, Cal., July 3, 1897.
HON. WM. F. FITZGERALD,

Attorney- General of California,

San Francisco.
DEAR SIR :

As a member and as acting secretary of the commission
created by act of the last Legislature of California for the pur-
pose of examining, testing and investigating Voting Machines,
and under authority of a resolution passed at the last regular
meeting of the commission, I write to you in your official
capacity to learn your interpretation of the entire act, and
more especially of the following portion, viz : ' 'its applicability
to our present elective system and its possible defects. ' ' Some



of the machines offered for our inspection are apparently very
perfect and highly successful in operation, and meet all the re-
quirements of the election laws, excepting only that part o
Sec. 1196, Pol. Code of California, reading as fallows: viz:
"Nothing in this Code contained shall prevent any voter from
writing upon his ballot the name of any person for whom he
desires to vote for any office, and such vote shall be counted
the same as if printed upon the ballot, and marked as voted
for." Is this a mere legislative enactment, or is it also a
necessity under the constitution ?

Is our commission bound by the existing law, or can we
recommend changes that seem to us wise and advisable ?

Trusting that you will render us your valuable opinion as
to these matters, I am,

Yours truly,

(Signed) C. B. MORGAN, Sec'y.

California Voting Machine Commission.



''APPENDIX "B".
REPLY TO FOREGOING,

ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S OFFICE )
STATE OF CALIFORNIA. j

W. F. FITZGERALD, Attorney-General.

San Francisco, July 7, 1897.

California Voting Machine Commission,

Room 507 Central Bank Building, Oakland, Cal.
GENTLEMEN :

I am in receipt of your favor of the 3rd inst. in which you
request my "interpretation" of "An Act to create a commission
for the purpose of examining, testing and investigating Voting
Machines," etc,, "and more especially to the following por-
tions, viz: "its applicability to our present elective system and
its possible defects."

The act in question (Stats. 1897, 222-223) creates a com-
mission "for the purpose of examining, investigating and



42

testing Voting Machines, and reporting the result of such ex-
amination, investigation and test, together with the opinion of
such commission and its recommendations to the Legislature
at its thirty-third session."

(SBC. i, Stats. 1897, 222). By section 2 of the Act it is
provided that the commission "shall examine and investigate
#// Voting Machines offered for such examination, or investi-
gation, and shall use all reasonable efforts to secure a per-
sonal examination of the largest possible number of such
Voting Machines." Section 4 of the Act relates to the report
of the commission, and contains the following provisions, in
which occurs the phrase upon which you particularly request
my opinion :

' ' Such report shall contain the results of their investiga-
tion and examination ; their opinion upon each machine
tested ; its applicability to our present elective system, and its
possible defects. Such commission shall also in such report
make such estimates as may be possible and they may deem
proper of the probable cost of one or more of such machines t
and the saving, if any, which such purchase would effect over
our present system of voting. ' '

In reply to your question : "Is our commission bound
by the existing law, or can we recommend changes that seem
to us wise and advisable ? " I am of the opinion that it was
the purpose of the Legislature in framing the Act creating
your commission to obtain, through you, all the information
possible concerning Voting Machines, their feasibility, cost
and cost of operation, etc. ; and that it is the duty of your
commission to examine all machines presented to you for ex-
amination or that you can obtain the privilege of examining
and to report fully to the Legislature upon each machine so
examined, its merits and its defects, and its applicability or
non-applicability to our existing laws governing elections ;
and I am further of the opinion that you are not in any way
restricted by the Act in the matter of recommendations ; but
that you were expressly created for ' ' the purpose of examin-
ing, investigating and testing Voting Machines, and reporting
the result of such examination, investigation and test, to-
gether with your 'opinion' and your 'recommendations,'
to the Legislature at the thirty- third session," The Legisla-



43-

ture desires the fullest information for its guidance in consid -
ering its feasibility of adopting Voting Machines, and one im-
portant element of such information is the change which it
will be necessary to make in our present elective system should
such machines be adopted.

Respectfully,

(Signed) W. F. FITZGERALD,

Attorney- General.



REPLY TO THE ABOVE.

Oakland, Cal., July 10, 1897.
HON. W. F. FITZGERALD,

Attorney-General of California,

San Francisco.

DEAR SIR: Your reply of July yth to our letter of the
3d inst. is received, and its contents are carefully noted.
The question which we wish to have solved is "whether a
voter has a constitutional right to vote independently, i. e.,
for a person who has received no nomination by any political
party; or whether such right exists by virtue of a mere
legislative enactment ? "

To construct a Voting Machine which would register an
independent vote, would add much to its complication and
expense, and lessen many advantages.

Yours respectfully,
(Signed) C. B. MORGAN, Secretary.

California Voting Machine Commission.



REPLY TO ABOVE.

San Francisco, July 30, 1897.
CALIFORNIA VOTING MACHINE COMMISSION,

Central Bank Building, Oakland, Cal.
GENTLEMEN: I am in receipt of your favor of the loth
inst. in which you ask, " whether a voter has a constitutional
right to vote independently, i. e., for a person who has received



44

no nomination by any political party; or whether such right
exists by virtue of a mere Legislative enactment ? "

This is an extremely delicate constitutional question and
one which is not necessary for me at this time to pass upon,
as an opinion thereon by me would serve no practical purpose.
All that is required of you, under the Act, creating your
Commission, is to examine Voting Machines and to report to
the Legislature their feasibility, and their adaptability or
inadaptability to the existing laws concerning the elective
franchise, their cost, etc., accompanying your report with
such recommendations as you may see fit to make. If you
have any doubts as to the constitutionality of any changes in
the law which you may recommend to meet the exigencies of
either or any of the machines reported upon you can so state;
and it will be for the Legislature to determine whether or not*
in view of the constitutional questions involved, it will adopt
such recommendations.

Respectfully,

(Signed) W. F. FITZGERALD,

Attorney-General.



APPENDIX "C."
ARTICLE II. SECTION 1210.

The County Clerk of each County, or, in case of separate
city or town elections, the clerk or secretary of the Legislative
body of such city or town, shall cause to be printed, on plain
white paper, without water mark or endorsements (except the
words ' Sample Ballot "), at least as many copies of the form
of ballot provided for use in each voting precinct as there
shall be registered voters in such precinct. Such copy shall
be designated "Sample Ballot," and shall be furnished to
registered voters at the office of such clerk or secretary five
days before the day fixed by law for such election, and at any
time during such five days ; provided, that not more than one
sample ballot shall be furnished to any one voter. Such clerk
or secretary shall cause to be printed, in large clear type, on
cards, instructions for the guidance of electors in obtaining



-45

and marking their ballots. He shall furnish twelve such
cards to the Board of Election in each election precinct in his
county, at the same time and in the same manner as the
printed ballots and sample ballots. The Board of Election
shall post at least one of such cards in each booth or com-
partment, provided for the preparation of ballots, and not less
than three of such cards at other places in and about the
polling-place, on the day of election. Sections 1214 and 1215
of this Code and Section 61 of the Penal Code, shall also be
printed on each of said cards.




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Online LibraryEdward Bulwer Lytton LyttonCalifornia. Commission for examining voting machines. Report to the senate and assembly, 33rd session of the legislature → online text (page 4 of 4)