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IV. As long as we have so many elections, and so many offices to fill, we shall have an army of trained politicians belonging to both parties, who will fight desperately for the spoils. If our suggestions regarding the increase of the appointing power of the Governor be listened to, there would be but few officers to choose by vote excepting the members of the Legislature and of Congress, the Governor and the President. The members of the Legislature should, we think, be chosen at such times that no State election should be held in the same year with a United States election. By the present Constitution of Illinois, the term of office of the Senate and of the House of Representatives is respectively four and two years. We hope to see the same terms introduced in Pennsylvania.
There should be a distinct separation between municipal and political elections; the former should therefore be held in the spring and the latter in the autumn. This is now the case in Ohio and some of the New England States, and the system works admirably.
The present mode of voting is open to the gravest objections. It is asserted, and believed to be true, that a majority which does not exceed five thousand votes may easily be turned into a minority in a large city. We refer our readers to the new Ballot Bill in England, which endeavors to put a check upon repeating and fraudulent personation, by giving a means of ascertaining how each man has voted in case of a contested election. Unless some remedy can be suggested for the great frauds which annually take place, it is a doubtful question whether viva voce voting be not preferable to the ballot. This interesting subject will, we hope, occupy much attention in the Constitutional Convention.
A further question of electoral reform which receives more and more that public attention which actual experience has now begun to prove its claim to, is that of Proportional Representation.
The agitation of this question in Denmark, in England, in Switzerland, in France and in this country while it at first merely enlisted some progressive minds of these countries in its advocacy, has now finally compelled the homage of the ruling masses, and some half-dozen of the various systems devised to secure fair representation to minority and majority alike, are now in use, sanctioned by statute, or indeed by being embodied, as in Illinois, in the Constitution, the organic law of the State.
Of the merit of the principle of proportional representation, no earnest thinker can have any doubt.
To advocate this principle is, indeed in one sense, equivalent to saying, “Representative government should be representative,” but the seeming truism will be found fertile in new and beneficent truths. Evidently a representative body should be as far as possible the mirror of its whole constituency. The leading interests of the voters should find their accredited representative in the deliberative body, and if they are to be fairly represented at all it can only be by giving each its due proportion of the deliberative body. The term “ Minority Representation” is therefore unfortunate, for the true theory does not infringe on the rights of the majority; that the majority rules and must rule, is implied and maintained in the very name of proportional representation.
It is, however, an acknowledged defect of some of the new schemes of election that under them a minority may possibly elect a majority of candidates. This was lately done under the cumulative vote in Illinois, and likewise in England; and the limited vote used in the choice of members of the Constitutional Convention is liable to the same objection. This same accusation holds good, however, against the great national scheme of election which the wisdom of our fathers devised for us, and under which we live. Under the single district system (now in use in all the States in Congressional elections) as late as 1867 a Republican majority of voters in Ohio elected a Democratic majority to the Legislature.
The history of this single district system, and the reform agitation which led to its substitution for the general ticket, is exceedingly suggestive.
It was, as far as we know, first developed in a valuable paper on “ Electoral Reform," read by Mr. S. Dana Horton, of the Cincinnati Bar, before the Literary Club of that city, and afterward printed in the Cincinnati Gazette. It affords a curious commentary on the frivolous opposition of to-day to proportional representation, to find Mr. Pickens, of North Carolina, advocating in Congress the great reform measure of that time as giving a “ fair representation to the minority," though the experience of fifty years suggests bitter comments on his hope that it would “ destroy the power of caucusses and self-appointed committees.” Evidently a great danger to be avoided in the discussion of these questions, lies in what many of its partisan advocates in this country have already done : they have been too willing to assume that some one pet scheme of election is proportional representation itself.
Granted the theory of representations of interests in due propor tion, the practical question ensues, what particular instrument is fittest to secure this end; and it is only exhaustive study, crowned by actual experience, that can solve this problem successfully.
It is to be hoped, therefore, that the Convention will content itself with laying down the fundamental principles of proportional representation, and leave to the Legislature the duty of determining upon such special schemes as experience from time to time may prove to be the best.
In the paper from which we have quoted, the writer describes in the following terms a scheme of which Philadelphia was the birthplace.
“The Gilpin scheme, different from all of those hitherto de"scribed, is that proposed by Mr. Thos. Gilpin, of Philadelphia, in " a pamphlet bearing date 1844, and dedicated to the American Phi“losophical Society. His plan bears upon its face the great recom6 mendation of simplicity, and is, indeed, so obvious an application “ of the principle of equality and justice to representation, so self"evident a development of the theory of representative govern"ment, that it can hardly fail to have occurred to earlier writers “ if any, such there were, that investigated the subject.
"A party that casts a third of the votes is simply to have a third of "the representatives; the latter are divided up as far as may be in "even proportion. Each party is to have an established ticket; “those first on the list are elected in order. He alludes to the prob“lems how to take accounts of scratching and of names added to or the list but gives no clear solution. Despite its simplicity, his "scheme does not appear to have been noticed by those in this coun“ try, and in England, who have been chiefly active in electoral “ reform.
“The English plan of the cumulative vote has, as we have seen, "been carried into practice, while Mr. Gilpin's idea finding sup"port in Germany and Switzerland, and put into practice in the “ latter country, now comes back to us with increased claim upon
“our notice, as the Geneva free list. Independent discovery is, on “this subject, the order of the day It is not probable that M. “ Frederic Morin, whose work on the subject contributed to the " adoption of this plan, had read that of Mr. Gilpin.
“Since the enlargement of the Canton by the treaties of 1815, “Geneva has suffered from time to time from the tyranny of ma“jorities. The city of Rousseau has had an admirable opportunity “of learning how the maxims of freedom may, by careful applica“tion, be turned into empty phrases. After several bloody revolu“tions a better remedy was found in this election system, and the “ force that threatened to break up the government was now calmly “ conducted to a channel of active usefulness.
“With the scanty materials I have thus far received, I am unable “ to give a detailed account of the Geneva plan of counting scratch“ed and mixed tickets. Its other features are, in general, the same " as those of Mr. Gilpin's plan.
“ The Gilpin plan stands alone in securing beyond a chance “ to each party in the district which votes a straight party ticket as « air a representation as it is possible to attain.
“What does it say to those members of the party who are dissat“isfied with the regular ticket? How does it affect nomination ? • The answer here is not satisfactory. Each party nominates, as it “ does now, as many candidates as there are offices to be filled. “ These stand on the ticket in a fixed order, and the number of offi“ces allotted to each party is filled by the party candidates taken " from the head of the party list. Objectionable nominees may then “manage to get their names high on the list, and the good names “(may be) put lower down, to induce the party to put out its “ strength, in order to pollenough votes to reach the good names, and “yet the party may only succeed in electing the objectionable men.
“In large districts, however, this scheme has one great excellence "in matters of nomination, and in representing shades of opinion " within parties. It will be possible to “ bolt'' the regular nominastions without doing the party any harm. The dissatisfied can get "up a ticket for themselves, put a good man of their party at the "head, and, if they cast the proper quota of votes, they can elect “their man. The Young Democrats can thus elect a Young Demo“ crat, and the Liberal Republicans a Liberal, and this without de“serting the party colors. In addition, the regular organization, re
“cognizing this danger, is stimulated to make its nominations “ represent fairly the better elements of the party.
“ The smaller the district, however, the less effective is this “check, for in small districts • bolting' may, as to-day, throw the “majority representatives into the hands of the minority party. In “spite of its shortcomings, we are inclined to believe this scheme “ better adapted to meet the facts of the case at our elections than “any of the other schemes described. It is based on the necessity “ of party and of certainty as to the effects of one's vote, and it un“deniably improves to a certain degree the conditions of the “ game of nomination."
It may be interesting to Pennsylvanians to know a fact which observation of the current discussion of the question will establish, that the opinion of many leading thinkers upon this subject is settling down to the conclusion that the best solution of the whole problem will be found when the Philadelphia plan can be so modified as to give scratched and mixed tickets proper weight on comparison with straight tickets. Various original schemes of this kind have been proposed here and in England and Switzerland, and indeed the paper from which we have quoted contains one, and it is to be hoped that a satisfactory solution of the question may eventually be put into practical use in the same State where it was first suggested.
In connection with the Gilpin plan, we would say that we strongly advocate the division of the State into both Legislative and Congressional districts of sufficient size to elect from each at least five members. Nor does this scheme conflict with what we have said upon the desirability of small constituencies. If the number of voters who select any one candidate is small, all the advantages of the system adverted to are gained, while minorities can only be fairly represented by combining with other minorities, and thus ensuring a sufficient quota to elect a representative, which could only be the case in a district such as we speak of.
V. We have a word to say in conclusion regarding the adoption of a uniform system of education throughout the State. A certain amount of homogeneousness is very desirable. To carry out this scheme, we suggest a commissioner of public education, to be appointed by the Governor, with a salary, and ex officio a member of the House of Representatives. A board of from twelve to twenty