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HIS GREAT LEARNING AND ABILITY AS A LAWYER, AND AS A
JUDGE; HIS HIGH CHARACTER AS A MAN AND AS A CITIZEN;
AND THE LASTING OBLIGATIONS I AM UNDER TO HIM FOR
GENEROUS AID AND INSTRUCTION AS MY TEACHER IN
THE LAW, AND FOR AN EARNEST FRIENDSHIP CON
TINUING THROUGH MANY YEARS, ALL COMBINE
TO MAKE THIS RECOGNITION AND ACKNOWL
EDGMENT BOTH A DUTY AND A PLEASURE,
ON THE PART OF HIS FRIEND AND
The subject which I have imperfectly treated in the following pages is of great importance, especially to the people of the United States. In a country like ours, where all the powers of government reside with the people, and are delegated to representatives chosen by means of the ballot, and who serve only for short periods, making necessary a frequent appeal to the popular will; and where the decisions reached by this means are often so important, it is inevitable that controversies growing out of elections should be numerous. And it is manifest that it is a matter of great consequence, that the principles which are to control the determination of controversies of this character should be understood, not only by the legal profession, but also by the people generally
Perhaps the most important purpose to be subserved by the publication of books of the law, is the prevention of litigation by informing the people as to their rights and duties; and it is hoped that this humble contribution to the law of elections may serve this purpose, by diminishing somewhat the number of election contests in the future, while at the same time affording some valuable aid and assistance in their proper decision, when they do arise. It has been my aim to bring together, in a convenient form, the adjudications of the Courts and other tribunals of this country, touching the subjects treated, among which are the following:
The qualifications of electors.
Violence and intimidation.
Prosecutions for violation of election laws.
Civil liability of election and registration officers, for a failure to discharge their duties.
The organization of legislative bodies, and the power and authority of such bodies over their members.
A considerable experience in the investigation of cases of contested elections, has caused me to feel the need of some such treatise as I have attempted to prepare. The law upon this subject, as determined by the courts and legislative bodies of this country, is only to be found scat. tered through many hundreds of volumes of reports, and the labor of collecting and examining them is necessarily very great. It has been my endeavor in the preparation of this volume, to state briefly and clearly the principles or rules which have been settled, and to cite the authorities where they will be found discussed more at length. I have myself entered into discussion only when considering unsettled or disputed points.
I have entitled this book The AMERICAN Law of Elections. The authorities cited are chiefly American authorities. Upon this subject we are, from the very necessities of the case, building up an American
I do not say that English authorities are of no value upon this branch of the law. On the contrary, I have cited them freely whenever I have deemed then applicable and useful. I have, however, endeavored to keep steadily in view the fact that the genius of our institutions, the character of our political system, and the principles upon which the right of suffrage in this country is founded, all differ so radically from those of England, as to diminish very greatly the value of English precedents in election cases, and I have labored to show that our own tribunals have, by a long course of judicial decisions, settled the law of this country, as it relates to the questions I have treated, upon a firm and solid basis.
KEOKUK, IOWA, 1875.
THE AMERICAN LAW
OF THE QUALIFICATIONS OF VOTERS.
§ 1. Subject to the limitation contained in the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the power to fix the qualifications of voters is vested in the States. Each State fixes for itself these qualifications, and the United States adopts the State law upon the subject, as the rule in Federal Elections, as will be seen by reference to Sec. II of Art. I of the Constitution, which provides as follows:
“The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several States, and the electors in each State shall have the qualifications required for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature."
The qualifications of voters for presidential electors, are also to be fixed by the States, as will be seen by reference to Sec. I of Art. II of the Constitution, which provides that “each State shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may