State of New York: Election Laws September 9, 1842

 Since the law of the 5th April, 1842, and the law of the 6th September inst. together with such brief forms and instructions as time would permit, were put to press, in order that they might be distributed throughout the State in season, an application has been made to this office from a board of town officers (to wit, the Supervisors, Assessors and T own Clerk,) asking for a construction to the eighteenth section, of Tit. III, Art. 3, & 18 of the Act respecting elections, &c. passed April 5th, 1842. The doubt which has been suggested is, whether, in the case where a town is not divided into election districts, more than three inspectors can be appointed by the town board to hold the election?

As this no doubt may exist in other quarters, and as there is now no mode so eligible of giving advice to the boards of town officers on this subject as through the public press, it is deemed expedient to make this communication.

Every board of town officers must divide the town, if it contain more than five hundred electors, into election districts; and if it contain less than five hundred electors, they may, in their discretion, divide it into election districts. By the eighteenth section they are required to "assign at least three of their number to hold the election in each district;" and if there is not a sufficient number of the board for that purpose, "they shall assign one or more to each district, and shall select from among the Justices of the Peace, the Commissioners of Common Schools and the commissioners of Highways of such town, as many as shall be necessary, in addition to t hose previously assigned, to constitute at least three inspectors of election for each district.

The Supervisors, Assessors and Town Clerk (there being generally but three Assessors in each town) making five in number; and it is apparent that where a town is divided into only two election districts they cannot "assign at least three of their number to hold the election in each district." The most equal division will give but three to one district, and two to the other. If the town is not divided, shall the whole five be inspectors of elections, or only three of them? The words "at least three," in the eighteenth section, would seem to imply that more than three might be assigned in a case where a town is not divided; and without examining other parts of the law there could be very little, if any, doubt on the subject.

But by the twenty-fourth section, where a town is not divided, "it shall constitute and be an election district in itself;" and all the provisions in relation to election districts are made applicable to it. The proceedings are to be the same where the town is kept entire, as they would have been in respect to each of its parts, had it been divided into two election districts.

But it is quite apparent from the twenty-first section that it was not the intention of the Legislature that there should be more than three inspectors of elections for each district.

After the present year, at the annual town meeting in every town, two inspectors of election for each election district in the town, are to be chosen by ballot; and a third inspector of election for each election district, is to be appointed by the presiding officers of the town meeting. No election district can have more than three inspectors of election after the present year; and it will give greater consistency to the law, to understand it to mean the same thing for 1842, that it clearly does for all succeeding years. It is therefore respectfully suggested, to each of the boards of town officers, that they should in all cases, appoint three and only three inspectors of election for each election district, whether the same is composed of the whole or only of a part of a town.

S. YOUNG, Secretary of State.

Website: The History
Article Name: State of New York: Election Laws September 9, 1842
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


Brooklyn Daily Eagle September 17, 1842
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