An act to prevent frauds and perjuries at elections and to prevent slaves form voting.
Passed April 9th, 1811. York, presented in Senate and Assembly, That instead of the oaths prescribed in the seventh section of the acct, entitled “an act for regulation elections,” passed the twenty-fourth day of March, one thousand eight hundred and one, to be tendered and administered to any person presenting himself to vote for a governor, lieutenant-governor and senators, or either of them, and who shall be suspected or challenged to be unqualified in the manner therein mentioned, the inspectors therein mentioned shall tender and administer the following oath, to wit: “I do solemnly and sincerely swear and declare( or affirm)in the presence of Almighty God, that I am a natural born, or naturalized citizen of the state of New-York, or of one of the United State, of the age of twenty-one years, according to the best of my knowledge and belief, and am a freeholder, possessed of a freehold in my own right, (or in the right of my wife, as the case maybe,) of the value of two hundred and fifty dollars, within this state, over and above all debts charged thereon, and that I have not become such freeholder fraudulently, for the purpose of giving my vote at this election, nor upon any trust or understanding, express or implied, to reconvey such freehold during or after this election, and that I am an actual resident of the ward, (or town of in the county of ) (as the case may be,) and have not been before polled in any part of this state at this election; and further, that I will true answers make to any interrogatories which shall be put to me by the inspectors of this election, touching the situation and boundaries of such freehold, form whom and by what conveyance I derive title to the same.” And that whenever any one shall present himself to give his vote or ballot for members of assembly at any such election, and either of the inspectors thereof shall suspect, __ any person entitled to vote for members of assembly in the same town of wr ward, shall challenge him to be unqualified for the purpose, the inspectors, instead of the parth prescribed in the seventh section of the said act, to be tendered and administered to any person so presenting him-self to vote for members of assembly, shall tender and administer the following oath, to wit: “I do solemnly and sincerely swear and declare ( or affirm,) in the presence of Almighty God, that I am a natural born or naturalized citizen of this state of New-York, or of one of the Untied State, of the age of twenty-one years, according to the best of my knowledge and belief, and that I am and have been for six months next and immediately preceding this election a freeholder, and possessed of a freehold in my own right, (or in my wife’s right, as the case may be,) of the value of fifty dollars, in the county of
(or have for six months next and immediately preceding this election rented a tenement of the value of five dollars, within the county of
and have been rated and actually paid taxes to this state,) and that I am now an actual resident of the ward (or town) of (as the case may be,) and that I have not been polled before in any part of the said oaths or affirmations respectively, and shall persist in such refusal to take the said oaths or affirmations respectively, and shall persist in such refusal during such election, his ballot shall not be received at such election, and if any elector shall be guilty of willful and corrupt false swearing or affirming, in taking the said oaths or affirmations respectively, or in taking any oath or affirmation prescribed by the act, entitled “an act for regulating elections,” and the act, entitled “an act for regulating the election of representatives for this state in the house of representatives of the congress of the United States,” every such person shall be adjudged guilty of willful and corrupt perjury, and shall upon conviction thereof suffer the punishment now directed by law in cases of willful and corrupt perjury.
2. And be it further enacted, That every person who shall have been rated and actually paid highway taxes by commutation, or by labor done on the highways, shall be considered as having paid taxes to the state, for the purpose contemplated in the seventh section of the act, entitled “an act for regulation elections,” passed the twenty-fourth day of March , in the year one thousand eight hundred and one.
3. And be it further enacted, That whenever any black or mulatto person shall present himself to vote at any election in this state, he shall produce to the inspectors or persons conduction such election
a certificate of his freedom, under the hand and seal of any one of the clerks of the counties of this state, or under the hand of a clerk of any town within this state.
4. And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for every black or mulatto person within this state, to make and exhibit proof before any one of the justices of the supreme court, any mayor, recorder, or judge of any court of common pleas within this state, of his freedom, such proof to be reduced to writing and exhibited in the country where the person producing the same shall reside. And provided the said justice, mayor, recorder or judge, be of opinion, that the person producing the same is free according to the laws of this state, he shall certify the same in writing, stating therein a brief description of the person so adjudged to be free, his age, the place of his birth, and the time when he became free, his as merely as the same can be ascertained, and it shall be the duty of the said black or mulatto person to cause the said proof to be filed, and the certificate of the said justice, mayor, recorder, or judge, to be entered of record, either in the clerk’s office of the said county, or in the clerk’s office of some one of the towns in the said county, and a copy of the said record, certified under the hand of the clerk in whose office the same shall be recorded, shall be the certificate of freedom required by the preceding section, to be produced, no black or mulatto person shall be permitted to vote at any such election.
5. And be it further enacted, That the officer taking such proof shall be entitled, as a compensation for taking the same, twenty-five cents, and for giving such certificate, the further sum of twelve and an half cents, to be paid by the person applying for the same; and the clerk for filing such proof and recording such certificate shall be entitled to such feeses are usual for like services
6. And be it further enacted, That every black or mulatto person producing sich certificate, shall, if required by any one of the inspectors of such election or if challenged by an elector, make oath or affirmation, that he is the identical person named and intended in such certificate, and if any person shall be guilty of false swearing in taking such oath or affirmation, he shall be adjudged guilty of ___ful and corrupt perjury.
7. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for such justice of the supreme court, mayor, recorder, or judge, on application by any black or mulatto person, to issue a summons, requiring any person residing within the county wherein such application shall be made, to appear and make affidavit of all such matters and things as he or she may know concerning the freedom of such black or mulatto person; and whenever any person shall refuse to appear and make affidavit in pursuance of such summons, a warrant shall issue from such justice, mayor, recorder, or judge, to compel his or her appearance, and if on his or her appearance, he or she shall refuse to make affidavit or affirmation, as the case may require, of the facts which may be within his or her knowledge, touching the matter to be enquired into, he or she may be committed to the common gaol of the county, there to remain without bail or mainprize for a term not exceeding one calendar month.
8. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the secretary of this state, to cause this act to be forthwith printed, and sent by messengers, to be by him appointed, to the clerks of the respective towns in such county, and the amount of such expenses as shall be incurred herein, shall be audited and allowed by the comptroller, and be paid on his warrant by the treasure, out of any monies in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.
9. And be it further enacted, That the secretary of this state shall as soon as possible cause this act to be published in all the newspapers printed in the state, and that the said publications shall be continued until the expiration of the next election, and the expenses thereof shall be paid as aforesaid.
State of New York,}
I certify that the preceding is a true copy of an original act of the legislature of this state on file in this office.
Albany, April 9th, 1811.
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