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place very inconvenient, the general court shall determine when such town, place, or ward shall send a representative such proportionate part of the time as the number of its inhabitants shall bear to six hundred ; and the legislature shall not grant to any town, place, or ward, any special privilege to send a representative."
In the debate upon the report of this committee of twenty, the chief objection urged was that it granted representation to the cities by wards in such a way that while three thousand inhabitants would give a town a right to three representatives, by division of a city of the same population into wards of six hundred each, it would be entitled to five representatives.
On December 15, the report of the special committee of twenty was adopted by the convention-yeas, 266; nays, 76.
This amendment was submitted to the legal voters of the State on the second Tuesday of March, 1877, in the form of question No. 4, as follows: “Do you approve of a House of Representatives based upon population, and constituted and chosen as provided in the amended Constitution?" It was ratified with the following vote : Yeas, 31,924; nays, 10,878. This amendment, by enactment of the Legislature, went into effect on August 17, 1878. (Laws of N. H., 1878, Chap. 67, Sect. 7.)
Convention of 1889. In the convention of 1889, several resolutions were introduced relating to the basis and ratio of representation. One proposed to change the mean increasing ratio from twelve hundred to eighteen hundred for an additional representative.3 Another * Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1876, pp. 230, 231.
Ibid., p. 252. 3 Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1889, p. 54.
proposed to allow the voters in the classed towns to cast their ballots for representatives in the towns in which they dwelt."
By the amendment of 1876, it was provided that in every class the first meeting for the election of a representative “ should be held in the town, place or ward wherein most of the inhabitants reside, and afterwards in that which has the next highest number, and so on, biennially, in rotation through the several towns, places, and wards forming the district.”Still another plan proposed to give every town a representative.3
All these resolutions were referred to the Committee on Future Amendments, which reported on January 10, that it was inexpedient to act on the subject.4
Mr. Harvey of Surry introduced the following resolution, which was reported favorably by the committee :
" Resolved,- That Article 10 of the Constitution be stricken out, and Article II be amended so as to read as follows, · Whenever any town, place, or city ward shall have less than 600 such inhabitants, the General Court shall authorize such town, place, or ward, to elect and send to the General Court a representative such proportionate part of the time as the number of its inhabitants shall bear to 600. And the General Court shall not authorize any town, place, or ward, to elect and send such representative except as herein provided.'” 5
Many petitions from the inhabitants of classed towns were received, all showing that in those towns there 1 Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1889, p. 60. ? Amended Constitution 1876, Part II, Sect. 10. 3 Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1889, p. 112. * Ibid., p. 145. • Ibid., pp. 138, 139; 212, 218.
was great dissatisfaction with that part of the constitution, as amended in 1876, which related to the classification of towns. The two principal reasons were, I. Where a small town was classed with a large one, the practical working of the plan showed that the large town always had the representative, and the smaller town was practically unrepresented; 2. In several towns it often had been necessary for voters to travel a distance of twenty miles to the polls in order to vote. This had resulted in practically disfranchising certain sections, and in some cases the vote cast had never equaled fifty per cent. of the legal voters.
The report of the committee was accepted by the convention on January 11, and the resolution adopted.'
This proposed amendment to the constitution was duly submitted by the convention to the legal voters of the State in the form of the question (No. 7) “ Do you approve of amending the Constitution with reference to representation in classed towns, as proposed in amended Constitution ?” It was adopted by them at the annual town meetings on the second Tuesday of March, 1889– yeas, 30,002; nays, 12,846.
1 Journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1889, p. 259.