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NETTLEFOLD.
(John Sutton Nettlefold, Winter-
bourne, Edgbaston Park Road,

Edgbaston, Gentleman).

2

TUNBRIDGE.
(William Stephen Tunbridge, Rock-
lands, Woodbourne Road, Edg-

baston, Solicitor).

but two names, of candidates for a certain office, constituting the entire municipal election. That is an English battle-ground. It is not to be wondered at, I think, that the English do better in their cities than we do.

The more complex we make the business of politics the fewer will be the number of citizens who can take part. The simpler we make it, the more certain will it be that all, or nearly all, of the citizens will be complete politicians.

We can not make all the people go into politics but we can simplify politics, and bring politics to the people. The politician under typical American conditions is a man who knows what he is doing on election day. He goes to the polls and votes for twenty-three men, all of whom he knows something about. A political machine is a series of ceremonies wherein politicians tie up the candidates in neat little bundles of twentythree each, like stalks of asparagus, and set them before the people on election day.

An electorate is a mob of citizens, reasonably well meaning, who go to the polls on election day before the ball game, and pick up one of those ready-made bunches and cast it into the ballot-box. Each citizen votes for three men whom he knows something about, and twenty others whom he can not even name. (I took a census of my own district in Brooklyn on the day after election to find out how many people knew whom they had voted for. I asked them, for instance, the name of the state treasurer, and I found that only fifteen per cent could name the man they had voted for as state treasurer the day before.)

Misrepresentative government in America is a condition wherein official No. 18 a list of twenty-three is more gratefully responsive to the wishes of the politicians (who were so kind as to tie him up in the victorious bunch) than to the people (who went off to the ball game without noticing that eighteenth name on the ballot at all).

There is what is to my mind an ideal comparison between the long and short ballot in Boston under Plan No. 2. At the first election it will be necessary to elect all the officials that are to be elected at any time under the new charter. On the list there will be eleven officials. Eleven officials are more than the people can handle at one time. The ballot is to be non-partisan, and nominations are only by petition. But there will be tickets nevertheless. A committee of twenty-five is at work to put before the people a ticket for the whole eleven offices. To be sure, that ticket will not appear as such on the ballot. There will be no desig

nation to indicate which are the men they recomBoston's

mend. However, they will undoubtedly publish that New Ballot ticket in the newspapers, and will give to the people

at the polls, in one shape or another, a memorandum list which they can copy; and alderman No. 7 on a list of nine will not be known by any one on his own merits, but simply as the recommendation of the Committee of Twenty-five running against the man recommended by the Fitzgerald supporters on the democratic ticket; and alderman No. 7, to take a typical instance, will be under obligations to the men who made that ticket, for it will be more important to his success to be on that ticket than to deserve the election.

Now at the succeeding election a year later there will be only five men to be chosen. The average voter, I think, can remember five names, and can get an idea in his head of the personality of his favorite candidates and can have a mental picture of what these candidates are. In consequence he can, and to a large extent will, make up his own ticket independent of any recommendations or groupings presented to him; and the official who gets elected will be responsible not to the ticket makers so much as to the people at large. That I conceive to be democracy. It is not a government by proxy such as we have now, not government by the ticket makers, but government by the people direct; and the candidates for office can ignore the ticket makers when the ballot is short enough, and can conduct all their negotiations directly with the people.

MR. ROBERT S. BINKERD, New York: Although I say it, but perhaps should not, I feel that the conscious realization or expression of the fact that the size of our ballot and the number of offices that we are called upon to fill is in itself one of the deepest causes of misgovernment, is the most significant development in the cause of good government during this past year.

For some twenty years we have heard phrases "undue multiplicity of elective offices,” etc., all of which, however, as President Eliot said yesterday, have been more or less casually mentioned, as though, as he also said yesterday, that they are not the gist of the matter, and as though every politician and “machine" in this country did not know we have here the gist of the matter.

What actually happened, as a great many of you are probably aware, is this: originally in the United States there was a very small number of elective officials. With the downfall of King Caucus in 1824 and the coming into power of Andrew Jackson, there was put forth the theory that no official is responsible to the people unless elected directly by them. There were not probably a large number of elective offices at that time; but with the economic growth of the country and with the expansion of the functions of municipal government, what happened was that every time a new office was created, regardless of whether is was a political office or not, it was added to the elective list. So we elected clerks of our courts, superintendents of public works, assessors, surveyors, and everything even down to dog-catchers and election officials, At last we have awakened to the fact, as Ostrogorski, in his book on “Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties," puts it, that “popular election is a spring of limited size which if not loaded beyond its capacity will work, but overloaded it simply breaks down." That I believe is what happened in this country in our state and local governments.

There is one other element that I want to bring into this discussion. If you will consider slightly the psychology of electioneering, I think you will get new light upon the question of the short ballot. If you are actually going to have a real choice by the electors you have got to make the candidates become real personalities to the voters. Now it is utterly impossible in a campaign for each of twenty, or fifteen offices even, to become real personalities to the voters.

Every time, however, we bring about a situation in which the personality of two or three candidates does come prominently before the public, then we find that the public generally makes an intelligent choice; and consequently that those who choose these candidates have the strongest possible reasons for choosing men of reputable character. [Applause.)

DR. ROBERT C. BROOKS, Cincinnati, O.: I want to express my hearty acceptance of the doctrine of the short ballot, and also my appreciation of the ability with which that idea is being urged. It is in itself a practical illustration of the short ballot, a perfectly definite point that is being taken up by this organization and is being hammered in most effectively everywhere. My own acquaintance with it has come through the efforts of the organization to enlist the college teachers of the country in the propagation of the idea. While perhaps more rapid progress might be made by other methods, yet I believe the greatest final progress will be made by this educational campaign which is being carried on.

It has won acceptance with us because the ground was long since prepared.

Hon. WILLIAM Dudley Foulke: Nearly always when you put a simple proposition to the people, and give them long enough to think about it, it being a simple idea, they will get it right. I have infinite faith in the people of the country and in the possibilities of democratic government (Applause). Even when you confuse them by all these details they seldom go wrong. Therefore, of course, I am heartily in favor of the short ballot.

MR. PENDLETON: Mr. Chairman, it seems to me that we are all in

favor of the short ballot. I should like to have you How Short then direct your attention as to how short that ballot Should the should be. Ballot Be ?

MR. CHILDS: The ballot must be short enough so that the candidates who are voted for will be definite personalities in the minds of the greater number of the people; the limit is the number of mental pictures which the majority of the citizens can put into their brains. What that is I do not know. Your guess is as good as mine. I have frequently suggested the number of five as being the maximum number of elections that it would be safe to hold on a single day. I say five because that has worked in the cities that are governed by commissions. Perhaps the possible number is larger, and perhaps time will prove that a plan of commission government whereby two officials are chosen at one time, and three at another, is not only better, but necessary.

MR. JEROME B. HOWARD, Cincinnati, O.: Is the question of the number of mental pictures which the average voter is capable of carrying in his mind a question of guessing at all? Is it not a fit subject for absolutely scientific investigation? It is a question of psychology. Expert investigation would determine that, would it not?

Dr. David I. WOLFSTEIN, Cincinnati, O.: The practical question to my mind is what machinery, applying it to our local situation, shall we put in operation to limit the number of officials that ought to be elected by popular vote? What shall we do to bring that desirable condition to pass?

MR. DEMING: I take it that, as in all campaigns of political parties for political ends, we must recognize there are two elements of success; first-not merely because I speak of it first—but first because it is primary, is the educational campaign; and that is what I understand The Short Ballot Organization is undertaking. Spread the information of the difficulty of handling these long ballots and of trying to do the right thing with clumsy tools as one reason why, and the other strong reason why we do not meet with more success in the outcome of our elections I say "we", meaning the people generally-I take it that if The Short Ballot Organization undertook to prescribe as an organization just how we should get the short ballot, it would be split into one hundred thousand different individuals according to the temperament of that one hundred thousand individual reformers and their individual ideas.

We in New York voted at the last election for four coroners. Now perhaps we can get the four coroners off; when we get the four coroners off, we will get naturally from eight to forty-eight names off the ballot. Simply strike out those offices. Perhaps we can get to a point where we will not elect municipal court justices. Why should they not be appointed?

For good government you want something shorter and simpler that can be understood and handled. And so I might go on. If the teachers in our colleges will take it up, if the instructors in civics in our high schools will take it up, not preaching any particular thing except the advantage it would be if we could have a short ballot, then let those who have the time to accomplish things in legislatures accomplish that end of it; but I do not think a Short Ballot Organization can undertake to reform the charters of all the cities in the country.

PROF. HATTON : I think we are all so thoroughly agreed upon the de sirability of the short ballot that it is not necessary to prolong this discussion.

The Conference then adjourned sine die.

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