ELECTION

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ELECTION, in politics. To give an accurate description of the elections of public officers, as they have existed in the various periods of history, would almost be to give the history of politics, for which many valuable materials exist, but which, it is much to be regretted, has never yet been fully treated. The subject is worthy of the deepest study of a philosophical mind ; and an enlightened citizen of the U. States would have many advantages were he to undertake the execution of it. It would far exceed our limits, if we should venture to give only a sketch of the various forms of election which have existed ; and we are obliged to limit ourselves to an account of those of the most important modern governments. (For the manner of election of the officers, in the ancient states, we refer to the separate articles: for instance, the article Consul describe* how that magistrate was elected in Rome* t Elections are one of the vital elements of all free nations; they have, theiefort, always occupied much of the attention of lawgivers, and may, to a certain degree, be considered as a standard to measure the degree of national liberty. The forms of election may be divided into two kinds: 1. those which have grown up, in the course of time, under the various influences which have contributed to modify the political constitution of the country, such as civil war, or internal troubles, conquest, particular laws, &c, as in the case of England; and, 2. those established by a written constitution, of a certain date, as in the U. States and in France. Elections, also, may be divided, like constitutions (q. v.), into aristocratic and democratic ; in the former, the person elected representing a much larger number and more classes of citizens than are comprised in the body of his immediate electors ; in the latter, representing his constituents only. Elections, also, may be direct or indirect; in the latter case, the people at large choose electors, who elect the representative or magistrate, as is the form of elections in Bavaria. The election of the president of the U. States is, in form, indirect, but is not practically so, because the candidates for the presidency are before the nation, and electors known to be in favor of a particular candidate are chosen by his partisans, and give their vote accordingly. The principal advantage gained, therefore, in this case, by intermediate electors, is that of order and convenience in balloting. In England, the election of the members of the house of commons is a subject of the greatest interest to the people. The qualifications of electors are very different in different parts of the kingdom. Even the county elections, which have been established in England by a uniform law, are attended with great inequalities of representation ; thus the two members of the county of York represent more than a million of people, whilst the two members for Rutland represent hardly 20,000. Besides, the number of freeholders is so small in some counties (the land being owned by a few families, and cultivated by their tenants), and the influence of the great landholders so predominant, that the election depends almost entirely upon the richest families in the county. In order to avoid the expenses of a contested ELECTION, the families and the other voters sometimes make a compromise;one member being chosen by the most influential family, the other by the other freeholders; or, where two very influential families exist, they divide the election between them. Thus, in Buckinghamshire, one member is returned by the duke of Portland, tne other by the marquis of Buckingham ;n Cambridgeshire, the duke of Rutland and the earl of Hardwicke return the two members. 12 counties are considered quite independent; the other 28 are more or less influenced by tlie rich families. In what manner this influence is sometimes exerted, was recently shown, by the duke of Newcastle's turning out all his tenants in Newark, for no other reason, than that they would not elect a Mr. Sadler, the duke's candidate. The public was indignant at this degree of boroughmongering, as it was called, though an almost overwhelming influence is exercised, wherever the most powerful families exist. The case alluded to can be found in all the principal newspapers of England, published in October, 1829; among others, in the Atlas, October 11, 1829. In some cases, a great influence is exerted by families who do not belong to the class of princely landholders, but who, having been long settled in the county, and comprising numerous branches, collectively possess much wealth and official consequence, and combine to effect a common end. Very often, indeed, the whole election contest is to determine which family shall cany its candidate. The qualifications of electors, in cities, differ according to their charters; and it is well known that, whilst hundreds of boroughs, where there are only a few families, or none at all (see Rotten Boroughs), send membersto parliament, populous places, like Manchester, Birmingham, &c, have no representative. Each county sends two members, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge each two, London, including Westminster and Southwark, eight, and other places return one or two. The members are distributed in the whole United Kingdom as follows: For England, .... 489 members. Ireland,.....100 " Scotland, .... 45 " Wales,......24 " Total . . . 658,of whom 186 are returned from 117 counties, 60 from 32 cities, 396 (called burgesses) from 222 boroughs and 3 universities, 16 from 8 cinque ports, &c. (called barons),total 658.If the corruption of the elections in Great Britain is so great, how is it that the English nation is yet the freest in Europe? The causers oae of superior efficacy to any formal constitutionthe public spirit diffused through the nation ; a spirit which, in the instance of other countries, has often set limits to the powerof monarchs nominally absolute. Bribery in elections is extremely common and open in England, notwithstanding the laws against it, which have sometimes been enforced. The laws intended to prevent government from influencing the elections are well meant, but ridiculous, when we see hundreds of boroughs bought by government. Any person who gives or promises any thing to any voter, in order to influence his vote, as well as every voter who accepts a bribe, is subject to a fine of £500, and is for ever disabled from voting, and holding any office in any corporation, unless, before conviction, he discover some other offender, when he escapes the punishment of his own offence. No officer of the excise, customs, stamps, or certain branches of revenue, is allowed to interfere in elections, by persuading any voter, or dissuading him, under penalty of £100, and incapacity for office. All persons are eligible to the house of commons, who are not, 1. aliens nor minors; 2. among the 12 judges; 3. clergymen ; 4. sheriffs, mayors, and bailiffs of boroughs (these are not eligible in their respective jurisdictions ; all members ought, in strictness, to be inhabitants of the places for which they are chosen ; but this rule has always been disregarded, and was entirely abolished under George III). 5. No person is eligible, who is concerned in the management of any duties or taxes levied since 1692, except the commissioners of the treasuiy, nor any excise officers, army and navy agents, governors of plantations, &c, nor any person who holds any office under the crown, created since 1705. 6. No person having a pension under the crown, during pleasure, or for any term of years, is capable of being elected. If any member accepts an office under the crown, except an officer in the army or navy accepting a new commission, his seat is vacated; but such member is capable of being reelected. Every member returned by a county, or knight of a shire, as he is styled, must have a clear freehold estate of the value of £600 per annum, and every member returned by a city or borough must have one of the value of £300, except the eldest sons of peel's, and of persons qualified to be knights of the shire, and except the members of the two universities. The mode of election is as follows:The crown in chancery issues writs to the sheriff of every county, for the election of ail the members of the county, and of the cities and boroughs therein. Within three days, the sheriffs must summon the different places to elect the members. The election must begin within eight days. The election of members for the county is conducted under the presidency of the sheriff himself. Soldiers must be removed, at least one day before the ELECTION, to the distance of at least two miles from the place of election. The lordwarden of the cinqueports, lordlieutenants of counties, and the lords of parliament, are prohibited by statute from interfering with the elections. We have already shown how all the most essential of these laws are openly disregarded. Any native English subject, who possesses a freehold of 40 shillings a year, has a right to vote for the members to be chosen by his county. We have before stated that the elective franchise differs in different cities and boroughs, according to their charters. In France, before the revolution, the members of the general representative body of the realm were chosen by the three estatesthe clergy, nobility (including all possessors of noble fiefs), and the third estate (including all possessors of taxable estates). The number was determined by the government, but was not important, because the representatives of the different estates voted separately, and each body had only an aggregate vote. When the states general were convoked, in 1789, ?he old rule was iollowed; with few exceptions. The three estates of each baillage principal, or sene'cliausse'e principale, formed the general assembly of the bailiwic, whose duty it was to elect the deputies of the states general of the kingdom, and to draw up the cahier de doUa?ices, or libellus graviminum, et desideriorum (the list of grievances and wants). But, even in the letters by which the last assembly of the states was convened, it was intimated, that the form of election should be better adapted to the wants of the nation. In 1791, 1792, and 1795, the principle became more and more settled, that the whole people have the elective right, excepting those who were immediately dependent on some other persons. When Bonaparte became first consul, *he nation at large only chose names for lists, from which government selected officers, and even the deputies and senators composing the legislative body. The charte constitutionnelle (q. v.) conferred the right of election on the electoral colleges (article 35), but with very considerable limitations The charte (art. 40) allows only those Frenchmen (30years old), who pay annually at least 300 francs direct taxes, to be electors. In 1830, it was estimated, that therewere not more than 90,000 persons having the qualifications of electors; and since that time, the number has been diminished by the reduction of direct taxes. There are not at present more than 80,000 electors; and, according to the most recent computation (January 1,1829), France is believed to contain 32,000,000 inhabitants. A citizen, to be eligible, must be as much as 40 years of age, and pay 1000 francs direct taxes a year, either in his own person, or by delegation for his mother, grandmother, or motherinlaw. 1£, however, there are not 50 persons of this description in a department, the 50 who pay the highest taxes under 1000 francs are eligible. Each elector receives a carte electorate from the prefect; but it is the inscription on the list of voters which gives the right of voting, and decides in case of any dispute. The presidents of trje electoral colleges are, ex officii), members of the college, but cannot vote, unless they have the legal qualifications of voters. They are appointed by government. No armed force is allowed to be near the place of session, unless the president requires it. No one except an elector, whatever may be his station, can demand admission into a meeting of an electoral college. The electoral college is provisionally organized by the president, who names the members of the bureau provisoire, thdt is, the four inspectors (scndatcurs) and the secretary. This is merely preparatoiy to the final organization (bureau definitif) of the college by the voters, who elect four inspectors and a secretary. Absolute secrecy in voting is required by the law of June 29, 1820. Previously to voting, each elector separately takes th,e following oath : " I swear allegiance to the king, obedience to the constitutional charter, and to the laws of the kingdom" (ordinance of October 11.If any candidates ha\ of votes, the oldest is ed. After the electio: journal of proceedinj read in the presence any error may be procteverbaux are rer ber of deputies, whi right of its members tc ors must then separal of the president, who i to destroy all the balk Since 1815, the law been changed three ti: Decazes (q. v.), when cessary to counterbal of the emigrants ; i murder of the duke < upon by the ultras, as throw the party of Dec June 29, 1820, increa deputies from 258 to ber were to be chose the voters of the dej: 172 by the richest el of all the voters, cons pay the highest taxes voted with the whole the department, elect J ber of deputies assigr ment, out of the ad( Constant, Benjamin.) 9, 1824, the deputies elected for 5 years, on" ber being renewed eve vided by the charte, art 7 years, the whole chai prefect of the departm tion, the government dent of the electoral c way, as well as by t officers, it exercises a ^ on the character of bodies. This influen< several times: for inst in a revolting wav: 1 which the chamber was dissolved, and the election of a new one ordered, is a highly interesting document, because it contains the dates of all the most important laws of election in France. We have seen how much French politics are influenced by the circumstance of the richest taxpayers being liberal or ultra ; and the celebrated statistical writer, M. C. Dupin, has lately made the following calculation, with the purpose of showing the state and distribution of the electoral franchise. From his statements, the liberal party in France seem to have a very great majority in numbers, as well as superiority in wealth. Mo o Dupin divides the departments into three classes. The first class includes the departments which return liberal members; they contain together 45,000 electors, and pay taxes to the amount of 151,500,000 francs. The second class includes the departments which return absolutists, or ministerialists; these contain 31,900 electors, and pay in taxes 46,000,000 francs. The third class, designated neutral, comprises those departments which return deputies, part of whom are of the liberal side, and part of the ministerial. The amount of taxes paid by these departments is 19,200,000 francs. By this exposition it would seem, that the liberals possess two thirds of the heritable property, and in numbers exceed the ministerial party about as 4 to 3.In the U. States, the democratic principle of election by the majority of polls is carried to a great extent, though generally slightly modified by qualifications required of the electors. The municipal and state elections, as they recur more frequently, and have a more immediate bearing upon the interests of the citizens, are, perhaps, of more practical importance than the federal elections, particularly in those portions of the union where each town is a little democracy. In the federal elections, the choice is indirect, as in that of the president; or made by the state legislatures, as in that of the senate ; or made by a large district, as in that of the federal representatives. In the other elections, the voters decide upon individuals with whose character they are, in general, personally acquainted. (See Constitutions.) Of the two houses of the federal congress, the ' senate is chosen by the state legislatures, and the house of representatives by the people. Each state, without regard to difference of extent, population or wealth, chooses two senators, who hold their places for six years. The senate is divided hitQ three classes, one of which is re newed every second year. Whether the choice shall be made by a joint or con* current vote of the branches of the state legislatures, is not decided by the constk tution, and the usage differs in different states. The representatives are chosen biennially, by the people of the several states, who are qualified electors of the most numerous branch of the legislature of the state to which they belong. The qualifications, therefore, of electors of the federal representatives, differ in different states; but, in general, they are, that they be of the age of 21 years, free resident citizens of the state in which they vote, and that they have paid taxes; in some states, they are required to possess property, and to be free white citizens. This description is so comprehensive, that the house of representatives may be consul ered to represent the whole body of the people. Some of the state constitution? prescribe certain qualifications as to property in the elected, and some require a religious test. But the federal constittir tion only provides, that no person shall be a representative who has not attainr ed to the age of 25 years, and been 7 years a citizen of the U. States, and who is not, at the time of the ELECTION, an inhabitant of the state in which he is chosen. The representatives are apportioned among the states according to numbers, which are determined by adding to the number of free persons three fifths of the slaves. The constitution provides, that there shall not be more than one representative for every 30,000 persons* but that every state shall have at least one. By the act of March 7, 1822, the apportionment was one for every 40,000 persons (based on the 4th census), and the whole number was 213, which, with the 3 delegates, compose the present house of representatives. After the ratio of apportionment is determined, each state is divided into districts, equal in number to tha representatives to which it is entitled, and each district chooses one representative ; or the reprer sentatives are chosen by a general ticket. The only qualifications required by the constitution for a president of the IF. States, are, that he should be a natural born citizen, have Attained the age of 35 years, and have been 14 years a resident within the U. States. The election of a supreme executive magistrate hashithertq, in other countries, been a scene of in trigue, corruption and violence. To avoid the excitement of popular passions, th© election of president has been coufideuu by the constitution, to a college of electors, appointed in each state, under the direction of the legislature. Congress has the power to determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall vote; this day, however, must be the same throughout the U. States. The number of electors in each state must be equal to the whole number of senators and representatives of the state in congress ; there are now, therefore, 261 electors, in 24 colleges. As the manner of choosing the electors is left to the discretion of the state legislatures, it differs in the different states, and at different times in the same state. The choice is sometimes made by the legislatures, sometimes the whole college is chosen through the state at large, by a general ticket, and sometimes the election is made in such a way, that each representative district chooses one elector, and the other electors are chosen by a general vote. To prevent the person in office at the time of the election from exercising any influence by executive patronage, the constitution provides that no member of congress, nor any person holding any office under the U. States, shall be an elector. The colleges assemble in the respective states, on the first Wednesday in December, in every fourth year succeeding the last election, and vote by ballot for the president and vicepresident, one of whom shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with the electors. A list of personsvoted for, with the number of votes for each, is made out by each college, and sent to the seat of government, directed to the president of the senate, to whom, by the law of March 1, 1792, it must be delivered before the first Wednesday in the next January. On the second Wednesday in February, that officer opens the votes in the presence of the two houses of congress. The constitution does not declare by whom the votes shall be counted, but it is done by the president of the senate. . A majority of the whole number of votes is necessary to constitute a choice. If no person have such majority, then the house of representatives proceeds to choose by ballot one of the three persons having the highest number of votes. In this case, the vote is taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote. A quorum for this purpose must consist of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states is necessaiy to a choice. If no choice is made before the fourth day of March, the vicepresident acts as president. According to the original plan of the constitution, the votes of the electors were given in for two persons; the person having the majority of all the votes was president, and the person having the next greatest number after him was vicepresident. The present plan was substituted, in consequence of the contested election of 1800, when, the number of votes given in for Jefferson and Burr being equal, the choice devolved on the house. After six days of balloting, Mr. Jefferson was elected on the 36th ballot. The number of states was then 16; necessary to a choice, 9. The first ballot gave Mr. Jefferson 8, Mr. Burr 6, 2 divided. The 36th ballot gave Mr. Jefferson 8, and the 2 divided states went for him by blank votes. The following is a table of the votes since the retirement of Washington. On the old system, in 1796 Adams 71 Jefferson 68 1800 Jefferson 73 Burr 73On the present system: 1804 Jefferson 162 Pinckney 14 ]808 Madison 122 Pinckney 47 1812 Madison 128 Clinton 89 1816 Monroe 183 King 34 1820 Monroe 231 1 vote in opposition. (Jackson 99 1824 Adams 84 i Crawford 41 VClay 37 The election, therefore, devolved on the house of representatives, and Adams had 13 states, Jackson 7, and Crawford 4. 1828 Jackson 178 Adams 83 (For more information respecting the election of the former German emperor, see Elector; of the pope, see Cardinal, and Conclave; of the former king of Poland, see Poland.)