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ELECTION... ELECTORS OF PRESIDENT

    14.8.17  

ELECTION. This term, in its most usual acceptation, signifies the choice which several persons collectively make of a person to fill an office or place. In another sense, it means the choice which is made by a person having the right, of selecting one of two alternative contracts or rights. Elections, then, are of men or things.

2. - §1. Of men. These are either public elections, or elections by companies or corporations.

3. - 1. Public elections. These should be free and uninfluenced either by hope or fear. They are, therefore, generally made by ballot, except those by persons in their representative capacities, which are viva voce. And to render this freedom as perfect as possible, electors are generally exempted from arrest in all cases, except treason, felony, or breach of the peace, during their attendance on election, and in going to and returning from them. And provisions are made by law, in several states, to prevent the interference or appearance of the military on the election ground.

4. One of the cardinal principles on the subject of elections is, that the person who receives a majority or plurality of votes is the person elected. Generally a plurality of the votes of the electors present is sufficient; but in some states a majority of all the votes is required. Each elector has one vote.

5. - 2. Elections by corporations or companies are made by the members, in such a way its their respective constitutions or charters direct. It is usual in these cases to vote a greater or lesser number of votes in proportion as the voter has a greater or less amount of the stock of the company or corporation, if such corporation or company be a pecuniary institution. And the members are frequently permitted to vote by proxy. See 7 John. 287; 9 John. 147; 5 Cowen, 426; 7 Cowen, 153; 8 Cowen, 387; 6 Wend. 509; 1 Wend. 98.

6. - §2. The election of things. 1. In contracts, when a; debtor is obliged, in an alternative obligation, to do one of two things, as to pay one hundred dollars or deliver one hundred bushels of wheat, he has the choice to do the one or the other, until the time of payment; he has not the choice, however, to pay a part in each. Poth. Obl. part 2, c. 3, art. 6, No. 247; ll John. 59. Or, if a man sell or agree to deliver one of two articles, as a horse or an ox, he has the election till the time of delivery; it being a rule that "in case an election be given of two several things, always be, which is the first agent, and which ought to do the first act, shall have the election." Co. Litt. 145, a; 7 John. 465; 2 Bibb, R. 171. On the failure of the person who has the right to make his election in proper time, the right passes to the opposite party. Co. Litt. 145, a; Viner, Abr. Election, B, C; Poth. Obl. No. 247; Bac. Ab. h. t. B; 1 Desaus. 460; Hopk. R. 337. It is a maxim of law, that an election once made and pleaded, the party is concluded, electio semel facta, et placitum testatum, non patitur regress-um. Co. Litt. 146; 11 John. 241.

7.-2. Courts of equity have adopted the principle, that a person shall not be permitted to claim under any instrument, whether it be a deed or will, without giving full effect to it, in every respect, so far as such person is concerned. This doctrine is called into exercise when a testator gives what does not belong to him, but to some other person, and gives, to that person some estate of his own; by virtue of which gift a condition is implied, either that he shall part with his own estate or shall not take the bounty. 9 Ves. 515; 10 Ves. 609; 13 Ves. 220. In such a case, equity will not allow the first legatee to, insist upon that by which he would deprive another legatee under the same will of the benefit to which he would be entitled, if the first legatee permited the whole will to operate, and therefore compels him to make his election between his right independent of the will, and the benefit under it. This principle of equity does not give the disappointed legatee the right to detain the thing itself, but gives a right to compensation out of something else. 2 Rop. Leg. 378, c. 23, s. 1. In order to impose upon a party, claiming under a will, the obligation of making an election, the intention of the testator must be expressed, or clearly implied in the will itself, in two respects; first, to dispose of that which is not his own; and, secondly, that the person taking the benefit under the will should, take under the condition of giving effect thereto. 6 Dow. P. C. 179; 13 Ves. 174; 15 Ves. 390; 1 Bro. C. C. 492;3 Bro. C. C. 255; 3 P. Wms. 315; 1 Ves. jr. 172, 335; S. C. 2 Ves. jr. 367, 371; 3 Ves. jr. 65; Amb. 433; 3 Bro. P. C. by Toml. 277; 1 B. & Beat. 1; 1 McClel. R. 424, 489, 541. See, generally, on this doctrine, Roper's Legacies, c. 23; and the learned notes of Mr. Swanston to the case Dillon v. Parker, 1 Swanst. R. 394, 408; Com. Dig. Appendix, tit. Election; 3 Desaus. R. 504; 8 Leigh, R. 389; Jacob, R. 505; 1 Clark & Fin. 303; 1 Sim. R. 105; 13 Price, R. 607; 1 McClel. R. 439; 1 Y. & C. 66; 2 Story, Eq. Jur. §1075 to 1135; Domat, Lois Civ. liv. 4, tit. 2, §3, art. 3, 4, 5; Poth. Pand. lib. 30, t. 1, n. 125; Inst. 2, 20, 4; Dig. 30, 1, 89, 7.

8. There are many other cases where a party may be compelled to make an election, which it does not fall within the plan of this work to consider. The reader will easily inform himself by examining the works above referred to.

9. - 3. The law frequently gives several forms of action to the injured party, to enable him to recover his rights. To make a proper election of the proper remedy is of great importance. To enable the practitioner to make the best election, Mr. Chitty, in his valuable Treatise on Pleadings, p. 207, et seq., has very ably examined the subject, and given rules for forming a correct judgment; as his work is in the hands of every member of the profession, a reference to it here is all that is deemed necessary to say on this subject. See also, Hammond on Parties to Actions; Brown's Practical Treatise on Actions at Law, in the 45th vol. of the Law Library; U. S. Dig. Actions IV.

ELECTION OF ACTIONS, practice. It is frequently at the choice of the plaintiff what kind of an action to bring; a skilful practitioner would naturally select that in which his client can most easily prove what is his interest in the matter affected; may recover all his several demands against the defendant; may preclude the defendant from availing himself of a defence, which be might otherwise establish; may most easily introduce his own evidence; may not be embarrassed by making too. many or too few persons parties to the suit; may try it in the county most convenient to himself; may demand bail where it is for the plaintiff's interest; may obtain a judgment with the least expense and delay; may entitle himself to costs; and may demand bail in error. 1 Chit. Pl. 207 to 214.

2. It may be laid down as a general rule, that when a statute prescribes a new remedy, the plaintiff has his election either to adopt such remedy, or proceed at common law. Such statutory remedy is cumulative, unless the statute expressly, or by necessary implication takes away the Common law remedy. 1 S. & R. 32; 6 S. & R. 20; 5 John. 175; 10 John. 389; 16 John. 220; 1 Call, 243; 2 Greenl. 404; 5 Greenl. 38; 6 Harr. & John. 383; 4 Halst. 384; 3 Chit. Pr. 130.

ELECTION OF A DEVISE OR LEGACY. It is an admitted principle, that a person shall not be permitted to claim under any instrument, whether it be a deed or a will, without giving full effect to it in every respect, so far as such person is concerned. When a testator, therefore, gives what belongs to another and not to him, and gives to the owner some estate of his own; this gift is under an implied condition, either that he shall part with his own estate, or not take the bounty. 9 Ves. 615; 10 Ves. 609; 13 Ves. 220; 2 Ves. 697; 1 Suppl. to Ves. jr. 222; Id. 55; Id. 340. If, for example, a testator undertakes to dispose of an estate belonging to B, and devise to B other lands, or bequeath to him a legacy by the same will, B will not be permitted to keep his own estate, and enjoy at the same time the benefit of the devise or bequest made in his favor, but must elect whether he will part with his own estate, and accept the provisions in the will, or continue in possession of the former and reject the latter. See 2 Vern. 5.81; Forr. 176; 1 Swanst. 436, 447 1 Rro. C. C. 480; 2 Rawle, 168; 17 S. & R. 16 2 Gill, R. 182, 201; 1 Dev. Eq. R. 283; 3 Desaus. 346; 6 John. Ch. R. 33; Riley, Ch. R. 205; 1 Whart. 490; 5 Dana, 345; White's L. C. in Eq. *233.

2. The foundation of the equitable doctrine of election, is the intention, explicit or presumed, of the author of the instrument to which it is applied, and such is the, import of the expression by which it is described as proceeding, sometimes on a tacit, implied, or constructive condition, sometimes on equity. See Cas. temp. Talb. 183; 2 Vern. 582; 2 Ves. 14; 1 Eden, R. 536; 1 Ves. 306. See, generally, 1 Swan. 380 to 408, 414, 425, 432, several very full notes.

3. As to what acts of acceptance or acquiescence will constitute an implied election, see 1 Swan. R. 381, n. a; and the cases there cited.

ELECTOR, government. One who has the right to make choice of public officers one, who has a right to vote.

2. The qualifications of electors are generally the same as those required in the person to be elected; to this, however, there is one exception; a naturalized citizen may be an elector of president of the United States, although he could not constitutionally be elected to that office.

ELECTORS OF PRESIDENT. Persons elected by the people, whose sole duty is to elect a president and vice-president of the U. S.

2. The Constitution provides, Am. art. 12, that "the electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for president and vice-president, one of whom at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as president, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as vice-president; and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted fur as president, and of all persons voted for as vice-president, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit, sealed, to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the president of the senate; the president of the senate shall, in the presence of the senate and the house of representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted; the person having the greatest number of, votes for president, shall be the president, if such number be the majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no, person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers, not exceeding three, on the list of those voted for as president, the house of representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the president. But in choosing the president, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum, for this purpose, shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the house of representatives shall not choose a president whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the vice-president shall act as president, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the president.

3. - 2. "The person having the greatest number of votes as vice-president shall be vice-president, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed and if no person have a majority, them from the two highest numbers on the list, the senate shall choose the vice-president; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of president, shall be eligible to that of vice-president of the United States." Vide 3 Story, Const. §1448 to 1470.

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