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of the several districts of the county so met shall add together the number of votes which shall appear to be given for any person or persons, who shall thereunto be found to be highest in vote or elected as Representatives or Senators, and shall forth with make out duplicate returns of the election of such person or persons as shall be so elected and chosen Representatives or Senators, and when a Governor is to be chosen, like returns of all the votes given for any person or persons for Governor; and having lodged one of each of the said returns in the office of the Prothonotary of the county, shall enclose, seal and direct the others, when the same relates to the choice of Governor, to the Speaker of the Senate; when to the election of a Senator or Senators, to the Senate; when to a member or members of the House of Representatives, to the House of Representatives. And one of the said judges shall deliver the returns, so sealed and directed to the sheriff, endorsing thereon the time of delivering the same; and having received the returns of any district for the election of a Senator or Senators, or one or more members of the House of Representatives, which may by law, be directed to be completed and made
out within the said county for the same election, the sheriff shall forthwith, by himself or his deputy, transmit the whole of the said returns to the secretary of the commonwealth, so that the same shall be delivered into the secretary's office within twenty days after the last of the returns shall have been received by said sheriff.
SECT. XIII. In the city of Philadelphia and in any county, where the election shall be holden only at one place, the returns thereof shall be made without delay in like manner as herein directed, as nearly as the different circumstances shall permit; and when two or more counties shall compose a district for the choice of one or more members of the Senate or House of Representatives, the judges of the election in each county having met as aforesaid at their court-house, shall make out a fair statement under their hands, of all the votes which shall have been given at the said election within their county for any person or persons, as a member or members of the Senate or House of Representatives, as the case may be, and one of the said judges shall take charge of such certificate, and produce the same in a meeting of one judge from cach county, at such place in the said district as is or shall bo appointed by law for that purpose, on the seventh day after the election, and the said judges shall there cast up the several county returns, and make duplicate returns of the person or persons chosen for the said district, and one of each returns, if there shall be more than of one kind, shall be deposited in the Prothonotary's office of the county in which they meet, and the other delivered to the sheriff of the said county, sealed and directed as herein before prescribed, and the day on which the same is so delivered shall also be endorsed thereon. And each Prothonotary within this commonwealth, shall make out a copy thereof and certify the same, and shall forth with transmit said copy under a sealed cover, directed to the Secretary of the commonwealth by placing the same in the nearest Post Office: The Legislature having thus provided for the transmission of the returns to the Secretary of the commonwealth, he hands them over to the clerks of the two Houses respectively, on the first Tuesday in December.
SECT. XVI. The judges of the elections, who shall meet at their respective courthouses, or other place appointed by law, to compare the several lists and certificates, and to cast up the number of votes for each candidate, shall give notice in writing to each member of the House of Representatives and Senate, who shall be elected, and reside in their respective districts, within ten days next after the day of making up the return. [Purdon 217.]
Meeting of the General Assembly.
ART. 1. Sect. X. The General Assembly shall meet on the first Tuesday of December in every year, unless sooner convened by the Governor.
Members are in all cases, except treason, felony and breach or surety of the peace, privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of the respective Houses, and in going to, and returning from the same.
A Member of Assembly is privileged from arrest, summons, citation, or other civil process, during his attendance on the public business confided to him: and it seems his suits cannot be forced on to trial during the session of the Legislature. Geyer's Les. V8. Irwin, 4 Dall. 107.
So a member of a State Convention is privileged from a summons or arrest, during the sitting of the Convention, and for a reasonable period before and after the Session. Bolton vs. Martin, 1 Dall. 296.
The claim of privilege must be made at a proper time. Therefore, if the attorney of a member of assembly, confess judgment, when the cause comes on for trial, without claiming privilege, the party will not afterwards be relieved. Geyer's Les, vs Irwin, 4 Dall. 107.
Freedom of Debate.
The 23d article of the declaration of rights in the constitution of Massachusetts, declares, that—"The freedom of deliberation, speech and debate in either House of the Legislature is so essential to the rights of the people, that it cannot be the foundation of any accusation or prosecution, action or complaint in any other court or place whatsoever.” In an action for slander, brought against a member of the Legislature, who plead his privilege, the following points were