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The provisions of the foregoing law, provide for the distribution of nearly twenty-five hundred copies without counting the exchanges to be made with other states. There would appear to be some notable omissions, particularly to the public and school libraries of the state, and the newspaper publishers. Of the edition of 1889, there were six thousand copies printed, and nearly all were distributed through members of the legislature, except the copies to state officers and state institutions, and two thousand copies additional could have found ready distribution.

The commissioners of printing while recognizing the inade. quacy of the supply as provided by law, did not feel at liberty to overstep the plain provisions thereof, hence the edition of the complete manual is three thousand copies. If the legislature feels disposed to direct a second edition, it can be issued promptly, and can be made ready for distribution before the adjournment.

As the theory of the publication of the manual now is, to give an epitome of all the activities of the state in one volume, and also the political history and statistics, which do not appear in any other public form, it would seem to be of real advantage to the state, to have the manual divided into two parts; one the legislative statistics and rules, including the introductory matter of constitutions, act of admission and Jefferson's manual, and have such number of copies struck off as may be required for the legislature, and for public libraries. The other part to contain the subjects now embraced in the manual, relating to the history, resources and growth of the state, its public officers, its political information, and general statistics that may be val. uable to the legislator or the citizen, of which volume an edition of six or seven thousand copies wonld find ready distribution. These volumes might appropriately be designated, the first as a “Legislative Manual,” the second as a “State Manual." The expense of printing would be no greater than the present method, and the “State Manual," under proper supervision, would be the most valuable publication that the state could make, and it might be prepared and printed and delivered to the legislature, within the first two or three weeks of the session.

The “Legislative Manual,” as now required to be printed, cannot be issued until the legislature has determined its rules, appointed committees, and settled its election contests. After the last copy is prepared, there is necessarily some additional time required for indexing and binding, so that with the most diligent attention on the part of the editor and printers, the manual cannot be delivered within a period of less than forty or fifty days after the assembling of the legislature.

Although the election laws provide for duplicate returns of the state and county elections to be sent to the secretary of state, the ruling of the office has been that neither set of these returns can be opened until the meeting of the canvassing board, which did not occur in 1890, until December 16, and the editor was obliged to wait until that date before he could commence the transcribing of the returns for the use of the manual. The duplicates of the county auditors could not be used, because in most instances, they were neither alphabetically arranged by townships, nor regularly arranged for the officers voted. These latter difficulties may be overcome through the office of secretary of state, in placing the names of the state candidates in the blank returns, and in the law requiring county auditors to enter up the returns by townships and election districts, in alphabetical order. With regard to the opening of the duplicate returns before the meeting of the canvassing board, if the legislature, in its wisdom, considers that the county boards shall make public the election returns of each county, there would seem to be no valid reason why these same returns might not be tabulated in the office of secretary of state, in anticipation of the meeting of the state canvassing board, whose duties would be simplified to opening the original returns, and checking off the tabulated returns prepared beforehand.

In the limited time allowed to prepare the election returns for the manual, it would be next to impossible to escape making some errors, either in transcribing or printing such a mass of figures. It is hoped, that if such are noted, that they will not seriously affect their general value. With respect to other portions of the manual, many corrections have been made from statements of two years ago, and the present compiler cannot expect to escape criticism for errors in this edition; and the only excuse to be offered, is that there is not the necessary time for that careful preparation which is necessary to absolute accuracy.

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