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Attorney General. Opinion on changes to rateable polls, 1835
House No. 27 Rateable Polls. On February 2, 1835, an unnamed committee asked the Attorney General to help with their consideration of the
Governor's message about Constitutional amendments and representation. On February 10, 1835, the Attorney General's 17 p. response was received. To the
question of whether the term "rateable poll" would always be defined as it was in the Constitution or could be redefined, Mr. Austin said the Constitution
tried to establish a permanent definition of a voter, so if the Legislature on its own changed that definition, that might be viewed as
over-reaching. However, times change, so what to do? Austin referred to a Supreme Judicial Court decision of 1811 that said a rateable poll was any male liable
to the poll tax, whether it was actually assessed or not. The Tax Act therefore defined rateable polls. There followed a long discussion about how
removing certain classes, e.g. aliens, or young people, e.g. ages 16-20, from a taxable class changed the number of representatives to which a
jurisdiction was entitled. Mr. Austin said if the current goals were to keep the right of towns to representation, maintain equality between population and
representation, but to limit the number of representatives, it could not be done without painful changes. (Digitized from a microfilm copy of title
originally held by the Massachusetts State Library).
Title:   Rateable polls.
OCLC Number:   1391081426
Available Volumes
NameFiche CountOnlinePaper Backup
Vol. 1YesNo