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Constitution of the State of Coahuila and Texas (1827)

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Spanish version

SECTION II.

ELECTION OF DEPUTIES.

ART. 46. For the election of deputies, municipal and district electoral assemblies shall be holden.

PARAGRAPH FIRST.

Municipal Electoral Assemblies.

ART. 47. Municipal electoral assemblies shall be composed of citizens in the enjoyment of their rights, domiciliated, and resident within the limits of the respective Ayuntamiento. No person of this class shall decline attending the same.

ART. 48. Said assemblies shall be holden on the first Sunday, and day following, in the month of August of the year preceding that of the renewal of congress, for choosing district electors, who are to elect the deputies, and eight days previous, the president of each Ayuntamiento, without the necessity of awaiting any orders shall convoke the citizens of his district by the proper edict, or as the custom may be, to convene in order to hold the election at the time and in the manner this consitution provides, previously giving notice to the haciendas and ranchos of said district that it may come to the knowledge of the inhabitants thereof.

ART. 49. That the citizens may more conveniently attend, each Ayuntamiento, according to the locality and population of its territory, shall determine the number of municiple assemblies to be formed within its limits, and the public places where they shall be holden, designating to each the places corresponding thereto.

ART. 50. They shall be presided, one by the chief of police, or the Alcalde, and the rest by the other individuals of the Ayuntamiento, as it shall fall to them by lot, and in defualt of the latter, said corporation shall choose for president of the respective municipal assembly, an inhabitant of the district assigned thereto, who can read and write.

ART. 51. On the aforementioned Sunday in August, the hour of the meeting having arrived, and the citizens assembled in the place appointed, being together, the said assembly shall commence by choosing from among themselves, by majority of vote one secretary and two tellers, who can also read and write.

ART. 52. The election shall remain open on both days specified in article 48, four hours each, divided in morning and evening, and a register shall be kept in each assembly to record therein the votes of the citizens convened to choose the district electors, entering alphabetically the names of the voters and candidates.

ART. 53. To be eligible as district elector it shall be required to be a citizen in the exercise of his rights, to have attained the age of twenty-five years--to be able to read and write, and to be domiciliated and resident in the same district one year, immediately preceding the election.

ART. 54. Each citizen shall vote for the respective district electors, viva voce or in writing, in the former case the voter shall call the name of those for whom he votes, in an audible voice, and should he give in his vote in writing, the secretary shall read the ticket in the same manner, and enter the same in the register, indispensably in the presence of the voter. No person shall vote for himself in this or the other electoral acts under penalty of losing the right of voting.

ART. 55. In a district where only one deputy is to be elected, eleven, and where two or more, twenty-one electors shall be chosen.

ART. 56. Doubts or controversies that arise whether any person or persons present possess the qualifications required for voting shall be decided verbally by the assembly, and the decision shall be executed without appeal for that time and purpose only, it being understood that the doubt shall not turn upon the provision of this constitution, or other laws. Should there be a tie in resolving thereon, absolutory sentence shall be given.

ART. 57. Should complaints arise of bribery, subornation, or force to cause the election to result in favor of particular persons, the case shall be publicly and verbally canvassed and brought to a decision. Should the accusation prove to be true, the offenders shall be deprived of a voice, active and passive. False accusers shall suffer the same penalty. From this decision there shall be no appeal. Doubts in regard to the nature of the testimony shall be decided in the manner stated in the preceding particle.

ART. 58. Municipal assemblies shall be holden with open doors, without any guard and no person, of whatever class, shall appear armed therein.

ART. 59. The election on both days having terminated, the president, secretary and tellers of each assembly shall proceed to count and cast up the number of votes received by the several candidates in the register, and sign the same, which having been done the assembly shall be dissolved, and any other act in which they interfere shall not only be null, but shall be considered an offence against the public safety.--Said register shall be delivered enclosed to the secretary of the respective Ayuntamiento.

ART. 60. On the second Sunday of the month of August aforesaid, each Ayuntamiento shall convene in their respective town halls in public session. In their presence, the president, tellers and secretary of the municipal assemblies being also present, the registers shall be opened, and in view of all said registers, a general list shall be formed alphabetically, comprising all the candidates and number of votes they have received.

ART. 61. Said list and the act of the corporation that shall be written out relative to the subject, shall be signed by the president of the Ayuntamiento, and secretary of the same, and the secretaries of the assemblies. Two copies of the aforementioned list shall then be drawn off, authorized by the same persons, one of which shall be immediately posted in the most public place, and the other delivered with the corresponding official letter, signed by the president of the Ayuntamiento to two individuals whom said board shall appoint from its own body that they may proceed to the capital of the district to join those commissioned by the other Ayuntamientos, in order to make the general regulation of the votes.

ART. 62. On the fourth Sunday in August those commissioned by the Ayuntamientos shall present themselves, with the credentials of their appointment, to the chief of police, and in his default, to the first alcalde of the capital of the district, and the former or latter, as the case may be, presiding, they shall meet in the town halls in public session, and, in view of all the lists, shall form a general list of the persons chosen district electors by the citizens of their respective district, stating the number of votes they have received, and places of their residence.

ART. 63. In order to make the said general regulation of votes, the concurrence of four commissioners at least shall be required. In districts where said number cannot meet, the Ayuntamiento of the capital town shall choose from their own body the persons wanting to complete the same.

ART. 64. The citizens resulting, by this general scrutiny, to have the greatest number of votes in the list, shall be considered constitutionally chosen as electors. In case of a tie between two or more persons it shall be decided by lot.

ART. 65. The aforementioned list, and act relative to the subject shall be signed by the president, commissioners, and secretary of the Ayuntamiento of the capital of the district. Copies of both shall be drawn off authenticated by the same persons, and forwarded by the president to the permanent deputation of congress, to the governor of the state, and to the Ayuntamientos within the precincts of the district.

ART. 66. Said president shall forward the corresponding official letter forthwith to the electors chosen, in order that they may meet in the capital of the district on the day provided by the constitution, for the purpose of holding the electoral assembly of the same.

PARAGRAPH SECOND.

District Electoral Assemblies.

ART. 67. District electoral assemblies shall be composed of the electors chosen by the citizens in the municipal assemblies, who shall meet in the capital of the respective district to choose the deputy or deputies corresponding thereto, to meet in congress as representatives of the state.

ART. 68. Said assemblies shall be holden at the expiration of fifteen days from making the general regulation of votes mentioned in article 62, the electors convening in the town halls or in the building considered most appropriate for so solemn an act, with open doors, and without a guard, and no person, of whatever class, shall appear armed in the said assemblies.

ART. 69. They shall be presided by the police chief, and in his default, by the first alcalde of the capital of the district, commencing their sessions by choosing from their own body, by majority of vote, a secretary and two tellers; the president shall then cause the credentials of the electors to be read, which shall be the official letters, wherein they were notified of their appointment.

ART. 70. The president shall then inquire if there be any legal nullity on the part of any elector for his being such; and should it be proved in the act that there is, the elector shall loose the right of voting. The president shall afterwards also enquire if any bribery, subornation, or force has been used for the elections of any particular person, and should it be proved in the act that there has, the delinquents shall be deprived of a voice, active and passive, and false accusers shall suffer the same penalty. Doubts that arise in either case shall be decided by the assembly, in the manner mentioned in article 56.

ART. 71. The electors present shall then immediately proceed to make choice of the deputy or deputies corresponding to the district, and they shall be elected one by one by secret scrutiny, by means of slips which each elector shall deposite in an urn placed upon a table at the foot of Crucifix, after being sworn before the same, and by the president that for deputies to the congress of the state, he will give his vote for those citizens, who in his opinion possess the qualifications of education, integrity, probity, and well known adherence to the cause of the national independence.

ART. 72. On conclusion of the voting, the president, tellers and secretary shall examine the votes, and the candidate who received more than one half of the votes shall be deputy, constitutionally elected, the president declaring each election. Should no one have received the absolute majority, the two highest candidates shall be run in a second balloting. Should more than two persons have received a like respective majority, they shall all be run in the second balloting, and the same shall be done when no one has received said majority, but all an equal number of votes. In all these cases the candidate receiving the majority of votes shall be elected; should there be a tie, the balloting shall be repeated once only, and should there still be a tie, it shall be decided by lot.

ART. 73. Should one individual only have received the respective majority, and two more more persons an equal number of votes, but greater than that of all the others, to decide which of them shall run in a second balloting with the former, there shall be a second balloting between them, and othe one who should receive the most votes shall enter in a competition with the candidate who received the respective majority. In case of a tie the balloting shall be repeated, and should there still be a tie, it shall be decided by lot. In the second balloting between the ones who received the respective majority over all the candidates, and his rival, the provision made in the last part of the preceding article shall be observed.

ART. 74. When one person only has received the respective majority, and all the rest an equal number of votes, to determine which of the latter shall enter in competition in a second balloting with the former, the entire provision made in the preceding article with this view in respect to those between whom there was a tie shall be executed, and to determine also which of the rival candidates shall be elected deputy, the provision of the last part of said article shall be observed.

ART. 75. The election of deputies proper having closed, that of the substitutes shall immediately follow in the same method and form, and the latter having also terminated, a list containing the names of all the deputies elected, signed by the secretary of the respective assembly, shall be immediately posted in the most public place. The electoral act shall be signed by the president and all the electors, and the former, the secretary and tellers, shall forward copies, authenticated by themselves, to the permanent deputation of congress, to the governor of the state, and to all the ayuntamientos of the district. Said assemblies, as soon as they have performed the acts pointed out in this law, shall immediately dissolve, and any other in which they interfere shall be null, and furthermore reputed an offence against the public safety.

ART. 76. The president shall also seasonably dispatch the corresponding official letter to the deputies proper and substitutes, accompanied by an attested copy of the act, to serve them as a credential of their election.

ART. 77. No citizens shall decline discharging from any cause or pretext, the duties mentioned in this section.