The constitution could not be adopted by the people except at an election. There could be no officers of the state, in any department, until after an election. For these reasons it is best for us to consider the subject of voters, before we present more than the bare frame work of the government.

   I. Who are Voters? The voters are drawn from two classes of individuals: (1) the citizens of the state and of the United States, whether they become citizens by birth or by naturalization; and (2) those who have declared their intention to become citizens, thirty days before the election at which they offer to vote. A person declares his intention to become a citizen by getting his first set of naturalization papers. The reason for confining the suffrage to these two classes is easily understood. Those who expect to remain permanently under a government, must have a greater interest in having that government a good one, and in having it administered by good officers, than will those who expect to remain but a short time. Hence those provisions help toward securing a good government and good officers. In order that foreign-born persons may not be incited to secure their first papers just before an election, during the excitement of the canvass, but may take them in the ordinary course of their residence, it is provided that they must have had their first papers thirty days before they can vote.





   Exceptions. An examination of the constitution and of the laws will show that many persons may belong to one of these two classes and may yet be denied the right and duty to vote. There are seven classes of minor qualifications which voters must possess. They are as follows:

   a. THEY MUST BE MALE PERSONS. The convention discussed the subject of the extension of suffrage to women, and many members were in favor of that extension. It was shown that the women, as a whole, have not shown that they desire to vote, and many doubted the policy of it, as so few women take any interest in political affairs. The legislature has extended the right to vote at school meetings to women, as will be seen by reference to the chapter on Education.

   b. THEY MUST BE TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE.--Before young men reach that age, they are generally forming their character, their habits, and their opinions. Many are fully competent at a much earlier age to vote, but a constitution cannot very well discriminate between individuals of a class. Twenty-one has long been held, almost universally, to be about the age when young men become able to act as independent men.

   c. RESIDENCE IN THE STATE.--They must have resided continuously in the state for six months previous to the election at which they offer to vote. This provision is for the purpose of enabling voters to become somewhat acquainted with the government of the state and with the candidates for whom they are to vote. A person is not competent to vote till he knows something of the men for whom, or against whom, he votes.

   d. IN THE COUNTY.--They must have resided in the county, in which they offer to vote, forty days before voting. And this for the like reason that they are required to reside in the state six months. As the county is smaller than the state, an acquaintance with its inhabitants




and candidates can be made in less time than can be made in the state.

   e. PRECINCT OR WARD.--This means a voting precinct, which is the extent of territory, all of whose voters vote at one voting place. In the country it usually embraces a whole precinct or township. Cities, as we shall hereafter see, are divided into wards, for purposes of government, and each ward is a voting precinct. Voters must reside in one of these voting precincts ten days before offering to vote. In villages and cities, those who vote at elections for village officers or city officers, must have resided in the corporation a period of three months in order to be legal voters. One object for these three provisions of residence is to show that the voters are settled there and thus have an interest in the election, and, also, so that political partisans cannot colonize voters, that is, take them from precincts where they are not needed, and transfer them to precincts where their votes will give their party or friends a majority.

   f. MUST BE SANE.--A voter must also be of sound mind, so that he may have the judgment, discretion and knowledge that shall enable him to vote intelligently. "Non compos mentis" means "not in sound mind."

   g. NOT A FELON. A person who has been convicted of treason, or other felony, either under the laws of Nebraska or of the United States, cannot vote. This denial of the suffrage is one of the punishments which the constitution inflicts upon felons. This is done on the theory that the privilege of suffrage is a valuable one, and that all persons greatly desire to exercise it. To take this privilege from criminals, it is thought, will exercise a restraining influence upon those who are inclined to commit crimes. Persons deprived of suffrage by felony, can have the privilege restored to them by a pardon. If criminals ought not to vote, we cannot understand why those who




are convicted of treason, or other felony, under the laws of other states, and who are unpardoned, are allowed to come into Nebraska as soon as their terms of punishment expire and vote here. Under the theory spoken of above, this must be an inducement held out to criminals of other states to migrate to Nebraska, for permanent residence, or until convicted of a crime under the laws of this state. Another reason for this provision is that persons, who will not obey the law have not the character that a lawmaker ought to possess. The idea is that persons of good character, only, should have the suffrage.

   What is Residence? (1.) Some married men have their places of business in one voting precinct and have their families in another. In this case they must vote where their families are.

   (2.) Some have a permanent residence, as a farm in the country, or a furnished house and lot in a village, while they go to another place to live for a few years, for some special business, intending to return after a while to their permanent homes. County officers are often required to live with their families at the county seat, while they have a house or farm in another part of the county to which they expect to return after their terms of office expire. So with some state officers who are obliged to live at the capitol during their terms of office, expecting to return to their permanent residences in other parts of the state when relieved from office. They cannot vote at the place where they are holding the office, but they must vote at the place of their former residence. Residence, as we see, may be temporary or permanent. The voting precinct of a voter's permanent residence is the place for him to vote. So it is provided that soldiers, sailors and marines, while in the service of the United States, though stationed within the state for a period of six months, are not to be allowed to vote. Their residence here is for a




temporary purpose, and is not voluntary on their part, either in coming or departing.

   The Militia. The constitution provides that electors' in actual military service of the state or of the United States and not in the regular army, may vote at such place and under such regulations as the law may provide. So far, the legislature has not provided any regulations under that section of the constitution.

   Registry. In cities of the first class, the names of all voters must be registered ten days before the election at which they offer to vote. In large cities, where there is a large class of floating population, the election officers find great difficulty in knowing who are actual residents. Hence, the voters must prove their residence before a regularly appointed officer, when there is no excitement or hurry. If a voter's name is wrongfully left off the list, he may prove his residence at the time of voting.

   Protection to Voters. We have seen in section 22, of the Bill of Rights, that no one is allowed to put any impediment or hindrance in the way of a free exercise of the privilege of voting. Section 5 of Article VII details more specifically how the voter shall be protected. For the crime of treason or other felony, and for a breach of the peace, the voter may be arrested at any time of election day, and wherever he may be found, as these crimes menace the foundations of civil government. For any other crime he shall be privileged from arrest, on election day, not only while he is in actual attendance at the voting place, but also while he is going to it, or returning from it. This provision is to prevent any annoyance of a voter by partisans, for light offenses. The state considers that voting is not only a privilege but a duty. This protective feature of the law offers an inducement to voters to vote. For the same reason, no voter can be compelled to do military duty on election day, except in




time of war and public danger. The Romans had a saying that "the public safety is the supreme law." In the spirit of this saying, every elector must help save the public, before be can vote. His right to vote depends upon the solidity and permanence of the state. If that fails, his elective franchise is worthless.

   Votes shall be by Ballot. This refers to such votes as are given at the regular state elections. This is a protection to the voter, in that it enables him to vote his sentiments, in such a way that those who may want to influence him into voting against his convictions may not know how he votes.

   Manner of Voting. The elector writes, or has printed, upon a piece of paper, the names of the candidates for whom he desires to vote, together with the name or description of the offices to which he wants them elected, folds up the piece of paper and hands it, openly and in the presence of any one who may stand near, to one of the judges of the election.

   Illegal Voting. The law justly imposes a punishment upon any one who shall vote before he has the qualifications of a voter, or votes at a plate where he has no right to vote. The punishment is from one year to five years in the penitentiary. It also punishes with fine or imprisonment any one who procures or aids illegal voting.

   Bribery. Any one who bribes a voter, or attempts to bribe him, to influence his vote, is also punished by fine or imprisonment, or both, and by depriving him of the elective franchise till pardoned.

   Deceiving an Ignorant Voter. In order to protect ignorant voters from imposition, the law provides that any one who shall furnish to a voter, who cannot read, a ticket different from the ticket that the voter wants, with the intention to induce the voter to vote contrary to his convictions or inclination, or who shall




secretly or fraudulently change the ballot of a voter so as to prevent such voter casting such a ballot as he wishes to cast, shall be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary. In regard to the deception of an ignorant voter, would it not be best to have no ignorant voters?

   Challenges. A person who offers to vote at any election may have his right to vote challenged by any voter of that voting precinct. The challenge may be for any cause that disqualifies the person offering to vote. A person who is thus challenged cannot vote unless he satisfies the judges of election by his own oath, or otherwise, that he is entitled to the right.


   1.  From what classes of persons are voters drawn?
   2.  Why are they confined to these two classes?
   3.  How many exceptions are there? and what are they?
   4.  What constitutes residence that will entitle one to vote?
   5.  What additional precaution is taken in cities to prevent illegal voting?
   6.  How are voters protected in voting?
   7.  In what way are votes cast?
   8.  Is illegal voting allowed?
   9.  Is bribery allowed?
   10. May ignorant voters be deceived?
   11. For what causes may a person's vote be challenged.


   The Notice. At least twenty days before an election the county clerk makes out a notice thereof, three copies of which are required to be prominently posted up in each voting precinct. The notice states the day of the election, the offices to be filled and the place in the precinct where the voting will be done.

   The Polls. The polls are required to be open at eight o'clock in the morning, and to remain open until six o'clock in the evening. If any of the judges or clerks of




election, duly elected, do not appear at the polls by eight o'clock in the morning, the voters who are already assembled may fill the vacant place by a viva voce election.

   Opening the Polls. Upon opening the polls one of the judges must make proclamation of the fact, in a loud. voice, and it would seem that no ballot can be legally received until such proclamation is made.

   Ballot Box. Before any vote can be received the judges must make public exposure of the open ballot box, in order that the voters may know that no ballots have been illegally placed in it before the opening of the polls. The ballot box is then locked and the key is kept by one of the judges. The box cannot be opened, under any pretext, until the close of the polls. The ballot box cannot be legally removed from the view of the voters, at any time, until all the votes are counted and canvassed. This is to prevent any suspicion of illegal treatment of the ballot box, and also to diminish the opportunities for illegal treatment of it.

   Voting. When a person offers to vote he hands to one of the judges a ballot, printed or written, or partly both, folded or open, as he chooses, and tells his name to the judge. Upon receiving the ballot the judge repeats the name of the voter in a loud voice. If no one challenges the voter, and if the judges are satisfied that he is a legal voter, the two clerks will record his name in books provided for that purpose, and the judge will deposit the ballot in the ballot box.

   In cities, where the registry law is operative, the judges must also ascertain that the name of the person offering to vote is on the registry list. If not so on that list, the ballot cannot be received unless the person can show that he is a legal voter, and he must also give a satisfactory reason for his failure to register as a voter.

   Challenge. If a person who offers to vote is chal-




lenged, he must prove, to the satisfaction of the judges that he is entitled to vote, before his ballot can be received

   Closing. At least thirty minutes before the hour set for closing the polls, one of the judges must make proclamation of that fact.

   Canvass. As soon as the polls are closed, the judge and clerks proceed to count the ballots and to ascertain the result. The canvass must be public, so that the voters may see if everything is done fairly and honestly The lists kept by the clerks, are compared and errors corrected, the number set down and the judges and clerk then sign the poll books.

   Counting. The ballot box is then opened, the ballots counted and compared with the names on the poll books. If more ballots were cast than there are names of voters recorded, the ballots are shaken up and as many ballots drawn out as the number of ballots exceeds the number of names recorded. The judges and clerks then proceed to count the number of ballots cast for each office and to record the result in the poll books.

   Sealing the Ballots. When all the ballots are counted and the result recorded, the judges seal up the ballots in one package, and one of the poll books in another package. The two packages are then sent to the county clerk by one of the judges or clerks. The other poll book, in counties under township organization, is deposited in the office of the township clerk; in counties not under township organization, it is kept by one of the judges of the election.

   County Canvass. Within six days after the election, the county clerk calls to his aid two other electors of the county and the three proceed to canvass the vote of the county. They make an abstract of the votes cast for each office, as shown by the returns of the judges and clerks of election in the several precincts. The abstract is signed by the three canvassers.




   State Officers. An abstract of the votes cast in each county for state officers, members of Congress, district-attorneys, and as the choice of the voters for United States Senator, is made by the county canvassers, and sent by the county clerk to the secretary of state, addressed to the speaker of the house of representatives, and the canvass of the votes for those officers is made by the legislature at once upon its organization. A like abstract of the votes cast for presidential electors, for judges of the supreme court and of the district court, and for regents of the state university, are sent to the secretary of state, and the votes are canvassed by the state board of canvassers, consisting of the Governor, secretary of state, auditor of public accounts, treasurer and attorney-general. This canvass is made on the third Monday after election.

   Contest. Any elector may contest the announced result of any election for any of the following reasons:

   1. Malconduct, fraud or corruption on the part of any officer who receives or canvasses the votes.
   2. When the successful person was ineligible at the time of the election. This includes having been convicted of a felony, and being in default as a collector of public funds.
   3. When the successful person had been guilty of bribery in the election.
   4. When illegal votes were received and counted for the successful person enough to change the result.
   5. Any error in the canvass that would change the result.
   6. Any other cause that shows that any other person than the successful one was elected.

   The contests are heard in the courts; a detail of the process and proceedings would not be of value here.





   1.  What notice is required of an election?
   2.  When are polls opened and how are vacancies on the election board filled?
   3.  What proclamation is made at the opening of the polls?
   4.  What is done with the ballot box before votes are received?
   5.  Describe the process of voting.
   6.  How does the registry law affect voting, in cities?
   7.  May a person who has been challenged, vote?
   8.  Describe the canvass and counting of votes.
   9.  How is the county canvass conducted?
   10. What abstract is sent to the legislature and what to the secretary of state?
   11. Who may contest an election?
   12. For what causes may a contest be made?


   Who not Eligible. No person who is in default a collector or custodian of public money or property can have any office of trust or profit under the constitution or laws of the state. A conviction of felony also forfeits a right to vote or to hold office, unless the person convicted has been restored to civil and political rights by a pardon.

   The overseer of highways is elected every year, at the general election, by the voters of his district, and he serves one year.

   The precinct officers are elected at the general election, as follows: the judges of election and clerks of election and the assessor, to serve for one year; the justices of the peace and the constables in 1884 and every two years thereafter, to serve two years.

   The township officers are elected at the general elections, as follows: the supervisor, the clerk, the assessor, the treasurer, the judges of election and the clerks of election, to serve one year; the justices of the peace and the constables in 1884 and every two years thereafter to serve two years.




   In school districts, the uniformity is not perfect. In the country districts and high school districts, they are elected at the annual school meeting, on the first Monday of April. In cities, they are elected at the regular city election on the first Tuesday of April. Their terms are fully stated in the chapter on education.

   In villages, the officers are elected on the first Tuesday of April of each year, to serve for one year.

   In cities of the second class, the election is held on the first Tuesday of April of each year at which are elected a mayor, clerk, treasurer, and an engineer, to serve for one year. At each city election, there is elected one councilman from each ward to serve two years. In 1885, and every two years thereafter, a police judge is elected to serve two years.

   In Cities of the First Class, the election is held annually on the first Tuesday of April. In 1884, and every two years thereafter there is elected, from each ward, one councilman, to serve two years. In 1885, and every two years thereafter, there are elected a mayor, police judge, treasurer and auditor, and six councilmen at large, who serve two years.

   In Counties, at the general election, in 1885, and every two years thereafter, the clerk, treasurer, sheriff, judge of the county court, superintendent of public instruction, surveyor and coroner, are elected to serve two years. The clerk of the district court was elected at the general election, in 1883, to serve four years. In 1885, and every four years thereafter, a register of deeds will be elected, to serve four years. In 1886, and every two years thereafter, a county attorney will be elected to serve two years.

   In counties not under township organization, at each general election, one member of the board of commissioners is elected, to serve three years.

   In Judicial Districts the judge was elected at the general




election in 1883, to serve for four years. At the general election in 1884 the district attorney was elected to serve two years. This office will become vacant in January 1887.

   In Congressional Districts, at the general election in 1884 and every two years thereafter, a member of Congress is elected in each district to serve two years.

   The Members of the Legislature were elected at the general election in 1884 to serve two years.

   The Judges of the Supreme Court hold their offices for a term of six years. In 1885 and every two years thereafter, at the general election, one judge is elected.

   The Regents of the State University hold their offices for a term of six years. At the general election in 1885 and every two years thereafter two members are elected.

   Must be Voters. In all cases, the officers elected must be voters of the district in which they are to servo or which they are to represent.


How Occur. A vacancy may occur in any office by the failure of the person elected, or appointed, to qualify and serve; by resignation, by conviction of a felony, by removal from the district or state, by impeachment and removal, by becoming of unsound mind, and by death.

   It is seldom that a person refuses to serve in the office to which be has been elected, or appointed. Very few persons are presented as candidates without their consent. In the small offices, such as township officers, vacancies sometimes occur in this way, as the voters frequently have a difficulty in finding persons well qualified to fill them, and so they often elect persons who do not consent to serve. For the offices that pay salaries or large fees, the number who seek them exceeds the number that can be elected.




   To Whom Resign. The constitution and laws frequently refer to vacancies by resignation, yet in but few instances do they state to whom an officer should tender his resignation. In general, all resignations should be addressed and sent to the officer or the body who fills the vacancy. In the cases of justices of the peace and constables, the law says that their resignations shall be addressed to the county clerk.

   Who Fills Vacancies. Vacancies in office are filled as follows:

   1. In the office of reporter of the supreme court, by that court.
   2. In all other state offices, except the Governor, and offices in a judicial district, and in the membership of any board or commission created by the state, where no other method is specially provided, by the Governor.
   3. In county offices and precinct offices, by the county board, except that vacancies in the membership of the board of county commissioners are filled by the county clerk, county treasurer and judge of the county court.
   4. In township offices, by the town board; in the absence of a town board, by the town clerk; in the absence of a town clerk, by the county clerk.
   5. In city offices and village offices, by the mayor and council, or by the board of trustees.


   1.  Who are not eligible to office?
   2.  Give the term of office of overseers of highways.
   3.  Of precinct officers.
   4.  Of township officers
   5.  Of school officers.
   6.  Of officers of a village.
   7.  Of officers of cities of the second class.
   8.  Of officers of cities of the first class.
   9.  Of county officers.
   10. Of judges and attorneys of judicial districts.




   11. Of members of Congress.
   12. Of judges of the supreme court.
   13. Of regents of the state university.
   14. How may vacancies occur?
   15. To whom should officers resign?
   16. Who fills vacancies?


   For what Purpose. Government cannot be administered without money. Men will not work for the public without pay any more than they will for a private person. Besides, as we have seen, governments have a duty in providing places for criminals, so that they cannot escape and commit more crimes. The sick, insane, blind, deaf and dumb, and others, who, for whatever reason are unable to provide their own means of living, must be cared for by the public or government. To do this, buildings have to be erected, provisions, furniture, fuel, etc. purchased. Houses and furniture, fuel, books, stationery and other necessities have to be provided for government offices. All this requires money.

   From whom Raised. Experience and theory show that the easiest and the most just way to obtain this money, is to make each person pay his share of it. This share is determined by first ascertaining the person's ability to pay. As a large share of the benefit of the government is in the protection of property, in affording men the means to obtain and preserve it, it is considered right that property should pay most of the expenses of the government. Those who own the most property should, therefore, pay the largest amount of the money.

   What Exempt. 1. It would be waste of time and expense for the government to assess and tax its own property. That would be like taking money from one pocket and putting it into the other. Hence, all property belonging to the government in any of its departments, is




exempt from taxation. This includes school houses and other school property, property of townships, counties and the state. All is used for purposes of government.

   2. There is certain other property that is used in sort of governmental way, at least for such purposes as aid the government in the administration of the laws. Property used by agricultural and horticultural societies is not used for profit by private persons, but by societies for public purposes, and is not taxable.

   3. Colleges and schools under the control of private persons or by church organizations are deemed to be so valuable to the state in the education of its citizens, and in elevating intelligence, morals and conduct, that property used exclusively for educational purposes does not pay taxes.

   4. Churches and religious organizations are also deemed valuable aids to government in the formation of good character, and the property of such organizations does not pay taxes.

   5. Land devoted wholly to the burial of the dead does not pay taxes. The graves of our dead friends are always sacred, and the public conscience shrinks from the apparent sacrilege of compelling us to pay taxes upon them.

   6. All property devoted to charitable purposes, such as hospitals, homes for the aged, infirm, &c., ever. if owned and controlled by private persons, are exempt from taxation. This for the same reason that cemeteries are so exempt.

   The Assessment. Before the second Tuesday of March of each year, the county clerk must prepare a book for each assessor, containing a list of all the lands and lots in the assessor's district and also blanks for the listing of personal property.

   Between the first day of April and the first day of June, the assessor must call upon each owner of property in his  




district, and obtain from him a list of all his taxable personal property, and of the amount of money he has in any place, whether at interest or not.

   The assessor puts a valuation upon all this property and enters the same upon his blanks. If the owner refuses to give a list, the assessor may take testimony and may make such a list as he thinks is just. The assessor also puts a valuation upon all the lands and lots in his district.
   (District means the territory in which the assessor acts.)

   Railroads and Telegraph Lines. These companies have their lines of business running through many counties, and have their property unequally distributed along the lines. As all the property contributes about equally to the operation of the lines, it should pay taxes equally in all the counties, townships and precincts through which it passes. In order to a fair and just assessment, the Governor, auditor end treasurer form a state board of assessors. The proper officers of railroad companies and telegraph companies are required to report to the state auditor, on or before April 1 of each year, all the information that may be asked for, in order that the state board may be able to fix the valuation of the property of the companies. This board must make the valuation of the lines on or before May 15, and the auditor reports to the clerk of each county the assessed valuation-per mile and the number of miles in his county.

   Review of Township. In counties under township organization, the town board of each township meets on the first Monday of June to review the assessment of the town. Any person who thinks that his property is assessed too high, or that some other property is assessed too low, may apply to that board to have the assessment corrected, and the board may make such correction of the list as shall appear to be just. The assessment of no person can be increased without notice to him.




   Appeal. Any person who is not satisfied with the decision of the board may appeal to the county board.

   Return of the Assessment. On or before the second Monday of June the assessor returns his assessment list to the county clerk, and verifies its correctness and fullness by affidavit.

   Correction by County Clerk. The county clerk examines the returns, and, if he discovers any errors, he may correct them. If any lands are wrongfully described, he corrects the description. If any lands are omitted, he may add them.

   County Review. The county board meets on the third Monday of June as a board of equalization. In counties not under township organization, it has the general powers of the township board, as stated above. It also examines the assessments of the several precincts. If the assessment of one precinct is below the average or below what it should be, it may be raised; if too high, it may be lowered, as a whole, or in detail.

   In counties under township organization, the county board hears and settles appeals from the town board, and equalizes the assessments of the several townships and cities.

   State Board. On or before the 10th of July, the county clerks report to the state auditor an abstract of personal and real property of the county, with its valuation.

   The Levy. On the last day of the session of the county board, the board determines the amount of money that will be needed during the next year, for the expenses of the county. The board then makes a levy of taxes for the next year, including the taxes for the county, townships, precincts, school districts, and road districts.

   Cities and Villages. In cities and incorporated villages, the village board and the city council meet on or




before the second Monday of June and levy the amount of taxes needed for those corporations for the next year. The city council also makes the levy for the school district in which it is situated.

   State Levy. At the meeting of the state board of equalization on the third Monday of July, that board makes the levy for all state purposes.

   Tax List. As soon as the assessments are equalized and taxes levied, the county clerk at once makes out the tax lists. In counties under township organization, the list is for each township or city, and is ready for the city treasurer or town treasurer on or before the first day of October following. In counties not under township organization, the list is for the whole county and is ready for the county treasurer on or before October 1, following.

   What it Contains. The tax list contains a list of all the real estate with the name of the owner, if known; the number of acres and value, value of personal property, the school district and road district in which it lies, the total amount of state and county taxes, road tax, school tax, precinct tax, township tax and poll tax.

   How Taxes are Collected. In counties not under township organization, no demand of taxes is necessary. It is made the duty of each tax-payer to attend at the county seat and pay to the county treasurer. In counties under township organization, the town treasurer is required to call once on each tax-payer, if necessary, and demand payment of the taxes.

   When Payable. Taxes can be paid on or after November 1, of the year in which they are levied.

   Penalty. If the personalty tax is not paid on or before February 1, or the real estate tax by May 1, following the levy, the taxes draw interest at the rate of 10 per cent.

   Delinquent. When personalty taxes are not paid by the first of February, the treasurer may sieze (sic) personal




property, advertise and sell it for the taxes and the costs of seizure and sale.

   If realty taxes are not paid by the first day of November, of the next year after the levy, the county treasurer will offer the land for sale for the taxes. The person who offers to pay the taxes on a tract of land, or lot, for the smallest part of the same, may purchase it. The owner has two years in which to redeem by paying the taxes, penalty and interest, and costs of sale. If the land is not redeemed the treasurer must give to the purchaser a deed on demand, after the end of the two years.

   Deed. Before a purchaser can obtain the deed, he must give notice that he will apply for a deed, to any one living on the land, and also to the person in whose name the land was assessed. If no one is living on the land, and if the one in whose name it was assessed cannot be found in the state, the notice must be printed three times in a county newspaper.

   Reports. The town treasurer reports to the county treasurer every sixty days, and pays over to that officer all money belonging to the county and state, school district and road district. The county treasurer must report to the state auditor, and pay into the state treasury, all state funds on the first of November of each year, and at such other times as he may be requested. The county treasurer also pays over to the several school districts, precincts and villages, such money as he may collect for them, whenever required. The railroad companies and telegraph companies pay their taxes to the county treasurer, and that officer distributes to each township, school district, city and village, its share of that tax.

   Taxing Peddlers. In addition to the taxes already described, the law levies a tax of thirty dollars a year upon each peddler of watches, clocks, jewelry and patent medicines, and other wares and merchandise. This money




is paid to the county treasurer of any county, and the license is obtained from any county clerk.

   Cities. The city council of each city, by ordinance, may levy a license-tax upon any occupation or business within the city. To prevent injustice, it is required that all such license taxes shall be uniform as to the classes upon which they are imposed. In order to encourage literary and scientific education, it is also provided that lectures and entertainments of a literary or scientific character shall be exempt from such taxes. It is not often that cities levy these license taxes to the extent allowed by law. Usually they are imposed upon only hacks, carriages used for trip passengers, drays, auctioneers, concerts, theatrical troupes, circuses, billiard tables, bowling alleys, saloons, and other occupations of an irregular, or not strictly legitimate business. The money received from this source goes into the fund of the school district in which the city is situated.

   Paying out money. After the money enters the treasury it can be taken out only in the way provided by law. 

   In Townships. The treasurer pays it out on the order of the township board signed by the township clerk. 

   In Cities. The treasurer pays it out on the order of the city council signed by the mayor and city clerk. 

   In School Districts, it is paid out on the order of the district board, signed by the presiding officer and clerk, or director. 

   The County treasurer pays it out on the order of the county board, signed by the chairman of the board and the county clerk. 

   The State treasurer pays it out on the warrant of the auditor who can give orders only in pursuance of the law, and for claims that the law authorizes.





   1.  For what purpose is revenue needed?
   2.  How is it raised?
   S.  What property is exempt from assessment, and why?
   4.  How is an assessment made?
   5.  How and by whom is the assessment of railroad and telegraph property made?
   6.  How and by whom is the assessment of property reviewed?
   7.  When are taxes levied, and by whom?
   8.  What is the tax list?
   9.  How are taxes collected?
   10. When are taxes payable, and when are they delinquent?
   11. When is real estate sold for delinquent taxes?
   12. To whom, and when do tax collectors report?
   13. Who pay license tax as peddlers, and how much?
   14. What license taxes may cities levy?
   15. How is money drawn from the public treasury?




Educational System.


Public Schools.


District Officers,
County Superintendent,
State Superintendent,
B'd of Com. of School
   Lands and Funds.

State University.


B'd of Regents,

Normal School.


B'd of Education,

Private Schools.



    The Reason. As a rule, education improves the voter and the citizen. An ignorant person can hardly understand the significance or the effect of his vote, neith-




er can he fully see the necessity of good conduct in the citizen. It is shown, by experience, that, by the education of the morals and of the intellect of the citizen, the expenses of the government are greatly reduced, and the security of the persons and property of the other citizens is greatly enlarged. As the main object of government is to repress disorder and crime, and to add to the security of the persons and property of all the citizens, we can thus see that the expense of educating the voter and the citizen is really saved in the reduced expense of suppressing crime. This seems to be the real reason why the government finds any authority to tax the citizens for the education of the children.

   School Districts. Each county is divided into as many school districts as the people want, subject to the limitations of law as stated on page 72. The territory included in a city is also a school district.

   School Meetings. In the country districts and high school districts, the annual school meeting is held on the first Monday of April, at the school house. Notices of this meeting are posted up in three public places in the district, at least fifteen days before the meeting.

   Who May Vote. Every male voter, and every woman twenty-one years of age, who has resided in the district forty days; (1) who owns real property in the district, or (2) who owns personal property in the district, that has been assessed in her own name, or (3) who has children of school age residing in the district. Votes may be challenged and decided as in ordinary elections.

   Power of School Meetings. At the annual school meeting, the voters present may (1) select a site for a school house, by a two-thirds vote, and may change the same by a like vote; (2) direct that a site be purchased or leased; (3) direct that a school building be hired, purchased or erected; (4) determine the amount to be expended for the coming year; (5) determine the num-




ber of mills on the dollar to be levied for the year, for ordinary expenses; (6) the number of mills to be levied for a school building, or site, or both; (7) the length of time the schools shall be taught during the year; (8) direct the sale of any school property that is no longer needed; (9) give directions in regard to law suits; (10) elect the officers of the district.

   School Officers. (1.) In the country districts, the affairs are managed by a board of three, a moderator, a treasurer, and a director; one is elected each year at the annual meeting and holds his office for three years. (2.) In the high school districts, the affairs are conducted by six trustees, two of whom are elected at the annual meeting each year, to serve three years. The trustees elect a moderator, treasurer and director from their own number each year. (3.) In the districts comprising cities of the second class, the affairs are managed by a board of education, consisting of six members, two of whom are elected annually at the city election, and serve three years. They elect the presiding officer and clerk from their own body, annually. (4.) In the districts comprising cities of the first class, the board consists of nine members, three of whom are elected each year to serve three years.

   The city treasurer is the treasurer of the district. In almost everything the board of education has full control of the matters of the school district, and receives no instruction from the district.

   Duties of the Officers. 1. In The country districts the board is expected to obey the instructions of the school meeting, hire and pay the teachers, furnish the fuel, and have the care of the buildings and grounds. The board has very little authority aside from following the instructions of the annual meeting.
   2. In high school districts, the board grades and clas-




sifies the pupils, and divides the school into departments, employs teachers, prescribes courses of study and text books, and enacts proper rules and regulations for the schools.
   3. In the districts comprising cities the board has almost full control of the schools and the business. They cannot issue bonds without a vote of the people. The board grades and classifies the pupils, and divides the schools into departments as the interests of the schools demand.

   Teachers. No person can be employed as a teacher in any public school of the state, who has not received a certificate from some competent authority, stating that he has the legal qualifications for teaching. These certificates may be issued by the county superintendent or by the state superintendent. In city districts the board may appoint a committee for the examination of teachers, and the certificate issued by this committee will entitle a person to the right to teach in that district. A diploma of graduation from the state normal school has the effect of a certificate from any other authority.

   Certificates: There are four grades of certificates,

   1. Third Grade. For this certificate, the applicant must pass a satisfactory examination in spelling, reading, writing, geography, arithmetic, physiology, English composition and English grammar. This certificate entitles the holder to teach in any public school for a period of six months from its date, and no person can receive more than three certificates of this grade. If a person is not entitled to a higher grade certificate after three such examinations, it is not probable that he is worth much as a teacher.

   2. Second Grade. Applicants for a certificate of this grade must pass a satisfactory examination in all the branches required for a third grade certificate, and, also, in history of the United States, civil government, book




keeping, black-board drawing, and in the theory and art of teaching. This certificate is good for a year.

   3, First Grade. In addition to the branches required in an examination for second grade certificate, an applicant for a certificate of first grade must pass in algebra, geometry, botany and natural philosophy. The first grade certificate is good for two years.
   These certificates are granted by the county superintendent and can be used only in the county of the superintendent, and they may be revoked by the superintendent for any good cause.

   4. State Certificate. The state superintendent may grant certificates to permanent teachers of high character, broad scholarship, and successful experience. For this purpose he may personally examine the applicant or he may appoint a committee to make the examination. This certificate will entitle the holder to teach in any public school of the state, and may run for a space of two years, or during the life of the holder. To entitle one to this certificate, the applicant must pass a satisfactory examination in all the branches of study pursued in any of the schools of the state, except the dead languages.

   City Certificates. Certificates issued by the committee of the board, in city districts, need not be of any particular grade, but should cover all the studies that the holder should understand in order to teach in the department to which be has been elected.

   No Pay. The law forbids the payment of any public money to any teacher who does not have a certificate of one of the classes named above.

   County Superintendent. This officer has a general oversight of the schools and teachers of the county. He examines all applicants for teachers' certificates, and grants certificates of the grades to which the examination




shows them to be entitled. He keeps a record of all the certificates granted and revoked. He must visit each school in the county at least once in each year, examine carefully into the discipline and mode of instruction, and the progress and proficiency of the pupils, make a record of his observations, counsel with the district boards in regard to the best interests of the schools, and organize teachers' institutes and public lectures for the improvement of the schools and of the teachers. He also examines the reports of district boards, and secures their correctness.

   State Superintendent. This officer has charge of the public schools of the state, visits such schools as he shall have time for, organizes district institutes, decides disputed points of school law, proscribes forms for all school reports and makes an annual report to the Governor of the operations of his office for the past year, and of the condition of the schools and school fund of the state.

   Teachers' Institutes. The law provides for two classes of institutes:

   1. County Institutes. One is held in each county, and is organized under the direction and control of the county superintendent. All the teachers of the county are expected to attend an institute once a year, and a failure to so attend may be good cause for withholding or revoking a certificate. The superintendent provides a conductor, or conducts it himself, and provides such instructors as shall be needed. Instruction is given in the theory and art of teaching, and in such branches as are most needed by the teachers, and of most importance to them.
   EXPENSES, HOW PAID.--To defray the expenses of these county institutes, a fund is provided by law. Each teacher who applies for a certificate pays one dollar to the superintendent as an institute fund. To the sum thus raised




the county board is directed to add $25 a year; and it may annually add $100, at its discretion.

   2. Normal Institutes. The state superintendent divides the state into such districts, as he may deem best, and appoints a term of the institute for a place in that district, designating the length of the term, of not less than one week, and providing competent instructors.
   WHO ATTEND. It is the duty of all the county superintendents in the district, and of such teachers of the district as desire, to attend the institute. It is conducted as county institutes are.
   EXPENSES.--The institute fund of the county wherein the institute is held defrays the expenses of the district institute.

   School Funds. The money needed to pay the expenses of the schools comes from three sources: 1. Direct taxation. 2. Income from permanent school fund. 3. Income from licenses, fines, etc.

   1. Taxation. a. Each district may have levied a tax of any amount, not to exceed 25 mills (2 1/2 cents) on each dollar of valuation of property in the district, for the expenses of the schools. Ten mills of this amount may be used for the erection, purchase or hire of a school house.
   b. The state levies a tax upon all the property in the state, not to exceed 11/2 mills on the dollar valuation, for the support of the schools. This is divided, semi-annually, to each county in the state, in proportion to the number of schools in the counties. This money must be applied wholly to the payment of the wages of teachers. The money that comes to each county is divided by the county superintendent as follows: One-fourth of the amount is distributed, in equal shares, to the several school districts of the county; the remaining three-fourths is distributed to the districts in proportion to the number of scholars in the district.




   No school shall be entitled to any of the state fund unless it shall have maintained a school the previous year as follows: districts with less than 35 pupils, not less than three months; districts having between 35 and 100 pupils, not less than six months, and in those districts whose pupils exceed 100, not less than nine months.

   2. Permanent School Fund. (a.) Upon the organization of the state, the United States granted to it, in aid of the common schools, two whole sections, numbers 16 and 36, in each township. (b.) The United States also granted to the state, 5 per cent. upon the sale of all public lands of the United States in the state; (c.) all escheats or lands that revert to the state on the death of the owner who leaves no heirs; (d.) the school fund that existed at the adoption of the constitution. All these constitute a permanent fund, of which the interest only shall be used. The constitution provides that this fund shall be inviolable and that the state shall make good all losses that may occur.

   3. Fines, Licenses, &c. All fines and penalties paid by persons convicted of crimes and all money received for licenses granted to peddlers, saloons, druggists, drays, circuses, auctioneers, &c., belong to the temporary school fund, and is used in the districts where it is collected, or paid, except license money from peddlers, which goes into the county treasury, and is distributed to the schools of the county.


   Government. The general government of the state university is vested in a board of six regents. Two are elected every two years and serve six years. The board elects its own presiding officer and clerk.

   Powers. The board of regents determines the grades and studies, audits and allows all accounts, elects and,




fixes salaries of all professors and instructors and governs the institution, subject only to the legislature and the constitution.

   Organization. The university is authorized to embrace five departments:

   1. A college of literature, science and art.
   2. An industrial college, embracing agriculture, practical science, civil engineering, and the mechanic arts.
   3. A college of law.
   4. A college of medicine.
   5. A college of fine arts.

   Only the first, second and fourth have been established at this date.

   Faculty. Each college has a corps of teachers, or professors, called a faculty. These teachers are assigned to such branches of study as the board of regents deem best, and are paid such salary as may be fixed by the board.

   Chancellor. Over all these faculties is the chancellor, who is called the chief educator of the university. He is the executive officer of the board of regents. He directs in all the operations and work of education in all the colleges. The board acts very largely in accordance to his recommendations and reports. He is elected by the board of regents, and serves during its pleasure.

   Funds. Upon the organization of the state, the United States donated to the state seventy-two sections of land for the use and support of a state university. In 1862, the United States made a grant of 90,000 acres of land to each state for the endowment and support of a college for the benefit of agriculture. These two donations embraced about 136,000 acres, and is the permanent fund for the maintenance of the State university. The rentals of the lands, and the interest on the proceeds of sale, may be used for annual expenses.

Prior page
Next page

© 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project, Pam Rietsch, T&C Miller