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CHAPTER XI

THE ELECTION LAW

"Governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments. Let men be good and the government cannot be bad; for if it be ill they will cure it. But if the men be bad, let the government be ever so good, they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn-I know some say, let us have good laws and no matter for the men that execute them; but let them consider that tho good laws do well, good men do better, for good laws may want good men and be abolished by ill men; but good men will never want good laws nor suffer ill ones." WILLIAM PENN.

The Suffrage. The suffrage is the right to vote; that is, the right to cast a ballot for the choice of public officers, or the making of laws. Thru the suffrage the citizen expresses his will; it is the sign and seal of his political liberty.

So powerful is the ballot that the right to cast it must, for the protection of the people themselves, be carefully limited. In an ideal democracy all adults would have the right of suffrage. No such ideal democracy exists, so the suffrage is limited in all republics, even in the United States.

Qualifications of electors.-The conditions which limit the right of suffrage to a certain portion of the people are called the qualifications of electors. There are four general qualifications that every elector must possess. Besides these four qualifications every elector must also have one of three additional qualifications. If he posessses two, or all, of the special qualifications, it is well, but only one is required in addition to the four general qualifications.

The four general qualifications of an elector

as follows:

1) He must be a male.

2)

are

He must be at least twenty-three years of age. 3) He must be a citizen of the Philippines, or of the United States.

4) He must have resided in the municipality where he is to cast his vote for six months immediately preceding the election.

The three special qualifications, one at least of which every elector must have, are the following:

1) He must be able to speak, read, and write English, or Spanish, or

2) He must own real property (houses or lands) to the value of five hundred pesos, or pay thirty pesos annually of the established taxes, or

3) He must have held municipal office under the Spanish government in the Philippines.

The Elector's Oath.-In addition to possessing the four general and one of the special qualifications the elector must, before he may vote at an election, take the elector's oath, and register his name with the board of inspectors of elections.

An "oath," in the judicial sense, is a solemn declaration in which one calls upon God to witness that he tells the truth. An "affirmation" is a similar declaration of the truth made without calling upon. God. The making of a false oath or affirmation before a competent officer of the law constitutes the crime of perjury, for which there is a heavy penalty. The elector's oath is as follows:

I,

do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I am a male resident of the municipality of in the province of residing at.. and on the date of the forthcoming election I will be years of age, and should I present myself to vote I will have resided in said municipality continuously for the period of six months immediately preceding the said election; that I am not a citizen or subject of any foreign power;

that I have read (or heard read) sections thirteen and fourteen of the election law, and that I have the qualifications of a voter; and none of the disqualifications, prescribed in said sections; that I am not delinquent in the payment of any public taxes assessed against or due from me since August thirteenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, in any part of the Philippine Islands; furthermore, that I recognize and accept the supreme authority of the United States of America in the Philippine Islands, and that I will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto, that I will obey the laws, legal orders and decrees duly promulgated by its authority; and that I impose upon myself this obligation voluntarily and without mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me God."

(In case of affirmation, the words "So help me God” should be stricken out).

Signature of elector.

Sections thirteen and fourteen of the election law, to which reference is made in the oath, prescribe the qualifications and state the disqualifications of voters.

Disqualifications for Voting.-It may happen that a person possesses all the necessary qualifications for voting but belongs to one of the classes of persons who are forbidden to vote, even if they have the above mentioned qualifications. Such persons are the following:

1) Members of the army and navy of the United States. 2) Persons delinquent in the payment of taxes assessed since August 13, 1898.

3) Any person who has been deprived of the right to vote by the sentence of a court of justice since August 13, 1898. 4) Any person who has taken and violated the oath of allegiance to the United States.

5) Any person who on May 1st, 1901, or thereafter, was in arms in the Philippine Islands against the authority or sovereignty of the United States.

6) Any person who since the last day of March, 1901, has aided, or shall hereafter aid, by money, or in any other way, any person or organization hostile to or in arms against the authority of the United States.

7) Insane or feeble minded persons.

Qualifications of Elective Officers.-A delegate to the Philippine Assembly must be at the time of his

election a qualified elector of the district from which he may be chosen, owing allegiance to the United. States, and not less than twenty-five years of age.

Provincial governors and third members of provincial boards must be at the time of election qualified electors in the province; they must have resided there for at least one year prior to the date of their election; they must owe allegiance to the United States, and be not less than twenty-five years of age.

An elective municipal officer must be a qualified voter in the municipality, and must have resided there for at least one year previous to his election. He must owe allegiance to the United States, and be able to read and write intelligently either Spanish, English, or the local dialect.

Disqualifications for Holding Public Office.-Unless fully pardoned, no person who has been convicted of a crime which is punishable by imprisonment for two years or more shall hold any public office. Persons may also be prohibited from holding public office who have been removed from municipal office or the office of justice of the peace by the Governor-General, and have at the same time been disqualified by the Governor-General from holding office thereafter.

The law further provides that the Governor-General may refuse to confirm the election of any provincial or municipal officer who is of evil repute in the community where he lives, if upon investigation it shall be found that there is ground for his bad reputation.

No person who holds a public office or employment within ninety days of any general election, or within sixty days of any special election, is eligible for election to any public office, or to hold any public employ

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ment to be filled at such general or special election, except for the purpose of reelection to the office. he already holds. The purpose of this law is to prevent office holders from using their influence as public officers to secure their election to a higher office.

Election Days and Terms of Office.-The regular election day all over the Philippine Islands for delegates to the Philippine Assembly, and for provincial. and municipal officers, is the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November of each odd-numbered year, beginning with 1907. Certain explanations are necessary to make clear the dates of election and terms of office of various public officers.

The first election for delegates to the Philippine Assembly took place July 30th, 1907. These delegates will hold office till January 1st, 1910, or until their successors are elected and have qualified for office. The next election of delegates will occur on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November, 1909, and subsequent elections will be held on the same day of each odd-numbered year thereafter. The delegates elected after 1907 will hold office for two years from the first of January following their election.

The elections for provincial governors and third members of provincial boards occurred on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November, 1907 and the persons elected to these positions in 1907 will hold office from the first Monday in March, 1908, till the first day of January, 1910. Governors and third members elected in 1909, and in subsequent

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