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and board of eight trustees, except that no party name or designation shall appear on the certificate of nomination or on ballots and all candidates shall be designated as independent. It is stated that party lines in Fresno's municipal politics have not only been abolished, but forgotten. The result has been most successful. The saloons have been strictly regulated, vice and crime controlled, and great public improvements have been carried on. The result is largely attributed to the essential superiority of the non-partisan system.

The town of Easton, Maryland, was granted a charter in 1906, Chap. 458, by which the mayor and five councilors are nominated for a two years' term by a petition signed by thirty voters and their names are to be printed on the ballot "without device of



any kind.

In Newport, Rhode Island, which adopted a charter on June 6, 1906, that is notable for the very large representative council of one hundred and ninety-five members which it creates, it is provided that “ Nothing shall be printed or written upon the ballot except the name of the candidate, his residence, the office for which he is nominated, and such other non-political facts as the election laws of this state may require.” (Sec. 29.)

Alameda, California, at a special election July 18, 1906, adopted a new charter by which the mayor was to be nominated by fifty signers at large and the councilmen by twenty from the various wards. “There shall be nothing on any ballot indicative of the source of nomination or of support of any candidate.". The phraseology of this provision indicates a distinct advance over that of Fresno where the requirement that all candidates shall be labeled “independent” shows that the framers were not yet fully emancipated from the thought that the national parties did have some relation to city elections.

In Idaho, Boise City was granted a charter (House Bill No. 42) approved February 22, 1907, by which the mayor and four councillors are to be nominated by a convention of citizens, with

? See Chap. 23, 1905, Sec. 205.

: Chester H. Powell of Fresno in article for National Municipal League Clipping, November, 1908.

* Chap. 7, 1909, Art. XI.

the provision that no emblem or party designation shall appear on the ballot. Lewiston, in the same year, March 13th, was given an advanced charter (House Bill No. 121). The city council

) established a general primary and by Ordinance No. 579, passed June ist, provided that "no party designation shall appear upon the ballots.”

These instances, while highly creditable to these cities, and an indication of the widespread interest throughout the country, did

not give such an impetus to the movement as The Des Moines did its adoption by the city of Des Moines. The Plan

new idea of a government by a small board or commission was first inaugurated in Galveston, Texas, where it demonstrated by concrete example that cities prospered and obtained better government where power and responsibility were concentrated in the hands of a few officials. In Texas there was practically only one party. When the idea of commission government was taken up in other sections where there were two parties, it was natural that the barring-out of both parties should be seen to be a necessary part of the new scheme, in order to insure its successful working.

The State of Iowa enacted a general law, Chap. 48, March 29, 1907, to apply to cities of the first class, with a population exceeding twenty-five thousand. Candidates for the office of mayor and four councilmen are selected at the primary election on the second Monday preceding the general municipal election, being nominated on a petition of twenty-five qualified voters. Only the ten candidates, twice the number to be elected, who receive the highest number of votes, have their names placed on the ballot for the municipal election. The ballots at both the preliminary and the general election “ have no party designation or mark whatever." (Sec. 5.) The question of adopting this act and organizing as a city under its provisions must, upon petition of 25 per cent. of the voters, be submitted at a special election. Any city which shall have operated under this act for more than six years may, by a majority vote at a special election, after a similar 25 per cent. petition, abandon its organization and resume its former charter.

In order to avoid the abuses which might arise from a too arbi


trary government whose members might feel themselves superior to, and not dependent upon, the will of the community, and yet, at the same time, to preserve the advantages of efficient, economical business administration, the principles of popular control were also embodied in the plan-the referendum, the initiative and the recall. The Des Moines plan is thus thoroughly democratic, combining efficiency with responsiveness to the popular will.

Des Moines was the first city to avail itself of this permission, voting June 20, 1907, by 6,044 to 4,143, to adopt this new plan which went into effect on the first of April, 1908. The first election was held March 31st, and judging by later results, must have made a pretty good selection out of the fifty-two candidates nominated before the primary. Many articles have been written to show what great benefits have resulted from this new government of five men selected with regard to their fitness for their municipal duties and without the disclosure on the ballot of their national party affiliations.

The member of the commission who is best known throughout the country, who was previously mayor of Des Moines and who has been for many years the secretary-treasurer of the League of American Municipalities, writes that the non-partisan provision is the most important feature of the Des Moines plan.

Cedar Rapids was the second city in the state to adopt a similar charter, having its first municipal election also on March 31, 1908. The mayor, John T. Carmody, writes that "the official ballot without party designation has worked in a very satisfactory manner in this city. It has permitted the wisest selection of candidates by the people and eliminated the old system of having ward bosses, agitators, etc., dictate who the candidates shall be. It has been generally satisfactory with the people and it is a wise proposition. Party organizations have not made any material objection. The party bosses and ward heelers are the only ones that objected.”

In 1909, Iowa, by Chap. 64, extended the opportunity to adopt the commission form of government to the second class cities, having a population of from 7,000 to 25,000. These cities, how

• John Mac Vicar.


ever, are to have only three commissioners and not five, as in the first class. Keokuk, under this new permissive law, has adopted a commission form of government with its non-partisan pro visions.

South Dakota, in 1907, passed a general statute, Chap. 86, allowing cities of the first, second and third classes to adopt a

commission form of government, in which the South Dakota

elimination of national partisanship was secured by the provision that names shall be printed on the ballots in alphabetical order and "without other designation than that of the office for which they are candidates.” (Sec. 108.) Special elections to consider the adoption of such charters are permitted on an initiative petition of 15 per cent. Sioux Falls voted, September 29, 1908, to accept the provisions of this act. This law was approved March 12th or seventeen days earlier than the Iowa law which, however, is the better known and is the one to which reference is generally made. The two laws vary somewhat. Certificates of nomination must be signed by fifteen for each thousand of the population, with a minimum of twenty-five and a maximum of one hundred and fifty signers. The chief variation is that there is no preliminary election, but the person receiving the highest number of votes for any office is declared elected. Ties are determined by lot.

Wisconsin, in 1907, by Chap. 670, approved July 16th, provided that “No designation of any party or principle shall be

used for any candidate on any nomination paper, Other General

official notice or ballot for any municipal elecLaws

tion or preliminary election or nomination for city office. (Sec. 2.) This law may be adopted by cities through a majority vote at any municipal election when the question has been raised by petition signed by 10 per cent. of the voters. In 1909, by Chap, 448, Wisconsin authorized cities of the second, third, and fourth classes to adopt a commission form of government under which the ballots at the primary and at the election are to "have no party designation.”

Kansas City, in 1907, by Chap. 114, approved March 2d, provided that cities might adopt a commission form of government which, however, was based on the Texas model rather than on


that of Des Moines. The features, so prominent in the latter for the popular control of officials and for their election without interference of partisanship, were omitted. Nominations were made by political parties in city primaries, with provision for independent nominations by fifty or more voters. Sec. 16 required that “to the name of each candidate for mayor or commissioner shall be added his party, or political principle which he represents expressed in not more than three words.” Leavenworth adopted a charter under this law in February, 1908, but Wichita and Kansas City defeated similar attempts.

Last winter, 1909, by Chaps. 74 and 82, the law of 1907 was amended so that the poposed commission form of government should follow the Des Moines model, and the ballots "shall have no party designation or mark whatever." It was also extended to apply to cities of both the first and second classes. Special elections to adopt this commission form of government may be ordered on the petition of 40 per cent. of the voters. After a four years' trial, by similar procedure, a vote may be taken on resuming the earlier form of charter.

Under this new law, the cities of Kansas are rapidly adopting the non-partisan form of government. Anthony, Independence, Hutchinson and Coffeyville have accepted it, while both Wichita and Kansas City have reconsidered the question and have now voted in favor of the new method. Topeka, the capital, Parsons, Winfield, Manhattan, Junction City, Lawrence, Ottawa, Salina, Abilene, Concordia, Ft. Scott, Arkansas City, and several smaller ones are preparing to vote upon this question. It is said that no city has found the new government defective in any particular, that the only opponents it still has are the politicians, who were put out of business with its coming.

In Massachusetts, Haverhill was suffering from serious embarrassment, having a heavy debt and yearly expenses which

considerably exceeded its receipts. The LegisMassachusetts

lature in 1908, by Chap. 574, of June 3rd, authorized Haverhill, on petition of fifteen hundred voters, to have a special election October 6th, to act upon the adoption of a charter which was largely based upon that of the Iowa law. Acceptance was voted by 3,066 to 2,242. Sec. 11 provides that

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