The sheriff's office has been greatly rushed during the past few days. A large number of people paid the poll tax in the final last week of the year.
Laf. Gaz. 1/4/1902.
The poll tax collectors were kept busy all last week and the rushes made at the sheriff''s office denote how anxious some of the tax-payers were to save their right of suffrage. Even though the collection has been brisk, the Advertiser feels sure that at least 40 percent of the voters will have failed in paying the tax and will be debarred from voting two years hence.
Lafayette Advertiser 1/5/1901.
THE POLL TAX.
The Sheriff's Books Show a Considerable Increase Over Former Years.
The result of the first year's operation of the law requiring voters to pay their poll tax has been followed by far better conditions in this parish than was generally expected. It was feared that the majority of the voters of the parish would fail to pay the tax and thereby become disfranchised, but, as is shown by the figures furnished The Gazette by Sheriff Broussard, much less than one-third of the registered voters of the parish will be temporarily deprived of the franchise by reason of their failure to pay the tax. The registered vote of the parish at the election last November was 2,300. As may be seen by the figures printed below, 1,708 whites paid the poll tax during 1900. Taking the registration as a basis, there are 525 voters who did not pay the tax. Among the latter must no doubt be a considerable number of men who are exempted from the payment of the tax because of age.
It should not be overlooked that this law is new, this being the first time that it is enforced. Of course many deserving citizens may be for a time disfranchised, but we believe that the results so far are encouraging.
The law was passed principally to promote the cause of public education. It should be given a fair trial. If it fails to do the good it was intended to do, the Legislature of 1908 is authorized by the constitution to repeal it, but it is to be hoped that the people will recognize its merits and that its abrogation will be deemed inadvisable.
The following shows the collection of the tax by wards and gives the totals for the years 1898, 1899 and 1900:
Lafayette Gazette 1/5/1901.
Poll Taxes Paid.
Over 22,000 persons have paid the poll tax in Lafayette parish during the past year. About one-fourth of the these are negroes. Twelve hundred collections were made in December. Lafayette Gazette 1/10/1903.
The Poll Tax.
The fact that a failure to pay the poll tax takes from the citizen the right of suffrage, does not seem to have increased the collections from that source. During the year 1901, 1929 persons paid the poll tax for last year, ending Dec. 31, 1901, 2014 polls were collected. It was believed that in order to be qualified to exercise the franchise at the next congressional election the voters would pay the tax in largely increased numbers, but the results tell a different story. Perhaps due to the existence of only one party in this section or to indifference to national politics, many people in this parish have made it clear that they do not care to vote. While we do not like the poll tax qualification, because it places an added impediment in the voter's way, we are candidly of the opinion that the man who knowingly disfranchises himself by refusing to pay one dollar to support the public schools, is at best a very poor citizen and will serve his country better by not voting. Lafayette Advertiser 1/11/1902.
WELL DONE. - The Advertiser is proud of the fact that the voters of this parish heeded its advice and settled to nearly a maximum the poll tax of 1900. The sheriff's books show 1708 poll tax receipts leaving 525 registered voters having failed to paying the tax, in this latter number will be found hundreds of voters over 60 years of age and exempted. Lafayette has done very well and the Advertiser congratulates the voters in their patriotic stand towards saving their rights of suffrage. Lafayette Advertiser 1/12/1901.
Police Jury 1/2/1900.
Be it further ordained, that the special licenses and poll tax herein levied shall be due and collectible during the month of January, 1900, and shall become delinquent on and after the first day of February, 1900.
Be it further ordained, that the tax-collector shall after the first day of February prox proceed to advertise all delinquents for thirty days and after the expiration of said advertisement, he shall proceed to enforce the collection of said license and poll tax by seizing and selling at public auction any property in possession of said delinquents. Interest shall be computed at the rate of two per cent per month with all costs incurred in the enforcement of said license and poll tax.
Be it ordained that a fine of $25, or in default thereof imprisonment in the parish jail for thirty days, be and is hereby fixed as a penalty for the non-payment of the poll tax herein levied and any person so failing to make such payment within the time specified shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
The tax collector is authorized to place on a supplemental list all names of persons not appearing on the regular rolls, and shall assess said persons in accordance with the rates herein above fixed. Lafayette Gazette 1/20/1900.
School Board Proceedings.
Lafayette, La., Feb. 7th, 1898.
Among other business...
The school board met this day with the following members present: Messrs. Delhomme, Hopkins, Durke, Olivier, Dupuis, Broussard, Whittington and Clegg. Absent: W. G. Bailey.
The report of the Sheriff's collection of poll taxes was accepted as follows and a quietus granted him.
The Committee consisting of Ed. G. Voorhies, chairman, J. O. Broussard and Baxter Clegg reported that they had examined the account of I. A. Broussard sheriff, for the collection of poll taxes for the years 1893, 94, 95, 96, having found some duly accounted with proper vouchers thereof recommend that he be given a quietus for same for the years herein mentioned.
The following committee consisting of Messrs. C. D. Caffery, J. O. Broussard and W. G. Bailey was appointed to try and secure cooperation from the police jury in draining Sec. 16 T. S. 10 S. R. 8 of the public school land.
This committee is also to ask an increase in the appropriation made by the budget committee for school purposes.
The bill of Hon. C. D. Caffery for one hundred dollars fees in renting school lands was approved.
The bill for a black board laid over at the last meeting was approved.
Mr. Ben Avant account laid over at the last meeting was also approved.
It was resolved that no accounts for improvements or fixtures on school properties should be approved in the future unless previously authorized by the Board. Lafayette Advertiser 2/26/1898.