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POPE v. WILLIAMS.
ERROR TO THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND.
No. 508. Argued March 8, 9, 1904.–Decided April 4, 1904.
While the privilege to vote may not be abridged by a State on account of race, color and previous condition of servitude, the privilege is not given by the Federal Constitution or by any of its amendments nor is it a privilege springing from citizenship of the United States. Minor v. Happersett, 21 Wall. 162.
While the right to vote for members of Congress is not derived exclusively from the law of the State in which they are chosen but has its foundation in the Constitution and laws of the United States, the elector must be one entitled to vote under the state stutute.
An act of the legislature of a State providing that all persons who shall thereafter remove into the State from any other State, District or Territory, shall make declaration of their intent to become citizens and residents of the State a year before they have the right to be registered as voters, is not violative of the Federal Constitution as against a citizen of another State moving into the enacting State after the passage of the act.
THIS is a writ of error to the Court of Appeals of the State of Maryland, to review its judgment affirming that of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, which affirmed the proceedings of the board of registry of election district No. 7 of that county, refusing to register petitioner as a legal voter on the ground of his non-compliance with the Maryland law making it necessary for a person coming into the State, with the intention of residing therein, to register his name with the clerk of the Circuit Court of the proper county, and thereby to indicate the intent of such person to become a citizen and resident of the State.
The act in question was passed March 29, 1902, as chapter 133 of the laws of that year, and as an amendment and supplement to the Public General Laws of the State, title “Elections," sub-title "Registration," as section 25B, and it is reproduced in the margin.'
Plaintiff in error on September 29, 1903, presented his ap
' SEC. 25B. All persons who, after the passage of this act shall remove into any county of this State, or into the city of Baltimore from any other State, District or Territory, shall indicate their intent to become citizens and residents of this State by registering their names in a suitable record book, to be procured and kept for the purpose by the clerk of the Circuit Court for the several counties, and by the clerk of the Superior Court of Baltimore City; such record to contain their names, residence, age and occupation; and the intent of such persons to become citizens and residents of this State shall date from the day on which such registry shall be so entered in such record book by the clerk of the Circuit Court for the county, or of the Superior Court of Baltimore City, as the case may be, into which county or city such person shall so remove from any other State, District or Territory. And no person coming into this State from any other State, District or Territory shall be entitled to registration as a legal voter of this State until one year after his intent to become such legal voter shall be thus evidenced by such entry in such record book, and such entry or a duly certified copy thereof shall be the only competent and admissible evidence of such intent. And the clerk of the Superior Court of Baltimore City and the several courts of the several counties shall immediately, upon the passage of this act, procure a suitable record book for the recording therein of such entries arranged alphabetically under the names of such persons. For every person so registered under the provisions of this section they shall be entitled to demand and receive the sum of twenty-five cents, to be paid to said clerks by the mayor and city council of Baltimore and the county commissioners respectively. A copy of such record, duly certified by said clerks, shall be evidence of the right of such persons to registration as legal voters according to law, and each person so registered shall be entitled to such certified copy upon demand without charge.
plication to the board of registry of election district No. 7, Montgomery County, Maryland, then sitting at a place within such district, to be registered and entered as a qualified voter on the registry of voters of that election district, which application the board refused and declined to comply with, for the sole reason that he had not complied with this law of Maryland. Thereafter the plaintiff presented a sworn petition to the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, in the State of Maryland, praying that court to enter an order to revise the action of the board of registry, and to order and direct that the name of the petitioner should be entered as a qualified voter on the registry of voters of the election district already named. In that sworn petition he alleged that he had on June 7, 1902, with his wife and child, removed from the city of Washington, District of Columbia, into Montgomery County, in the State of Maryland, "having then had and ever since and now having the intention of making the State of Maryland the permanent domicil of himself and his family, and of becoming a citizen of said State; and ever since said June 7, 1902, petitioner has resided in the subdivision of Otterbourne, near Chevy Chase, in said Montgomery County, and in the seventh election district of said county."
The petitioner further showed in his petition that he had made application to the proper board of registry in the election district mentioned, and the board had refused to enter his name as a qualified voter on the ground already stated, of non-compliance with the Maryland statute.
The petitioner admitted "that he did not within a year prior to said application for registration as a qualified voter, or at any time during the year 1902, in any manner, make or register, in the office of or before the clerk of Montgomery County, Maryland, or in a record book kept by said clerk, a declaration of intention to become a citizen and resident of Maryland, such as is required by the aforesaid law to be made by persons who remove into the State of Maryland after March 29, 1902, as a condition precedent to subsequent regis
tration of such persons as qualified voters. Petitioner, however, claims and asserts that said section 25B of article 33 of the Code of Public General Laws of Maryland affords no justification for said refusal to register your petitioner as a qualified voter, because said alleged law contravenes and is repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of Maryland, and is, therefore, null and void." The petitioner then asserts and sets forth in his petition several grounds which, as he therein alleges, render the state law a violation of the constitution of the State of Maryland, and he also specially sets up and claims that the law is a violation of the Constitution of the United States in the particulars named by him, and which are as follows:
"Said law is repugnant to that portion of section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which declares that 'all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside,' because by said law it is in effect ordained that male citizens of the United States of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, removing into the State of Maryland after March 29, 1902, with the intention of making said State their permanent domicil, shall not be treated as citizens or residents of Maryland, or given the rights and privileges of citizens of Maryland, until they have been naturalized in the mode prescribed by said law.
"Said law is also repugnant to that portion of section 1 of said Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which prohibits a State from denying any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, because said law operates an unjust and unreasonable discrimination against citizens of the United States coming into the State of Maryland to permanently reside therein after March 29, 1902, who may desire to become qualified voters therein.
"Said law is also repugnant to the general spirit of the Constitution of the United States and the fundamental rights
of citizens of the United States, which deny to a State the power to attach unreasonable or burdensome conditions to the free movement of citizens of the United States out of, into and settlement within the confines of any State, District or Territory within the United States."
To this petition there was a general demurrer, which was sustained by the court, which thereupon entered judgment dismissing the petition with costs to the defendants.
Mr. William H. Pope, plaintiff in error, pro se:
The deprivation of a political right or privilege dependent upon a state constitution, if such deprivation be grounded upon an abridgement of a right or privilege conferred by the Constitution of the United States, presents a Federal question entitling this court to review the judgment of a state court. Boyd v. Thayer, 143 U. S. 135.
State citizenship is a right, privilege or immunity of a citizen of the United States. § 1, Fourteenth Amendment; Slaughter House Cases, 16 Wall. 36, 80. By the express terms of the Fourteenth Amendment, a State may not abridge the same.
The first sentence of the Fourteenth Amendment is in effect a national naturalization law; and the acquisition of United States and state citizenship is solely regulated by it. The common law and general law of evidence in force at the time of the adoption of the Amendment determine what is residence and how it may be acquired. United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U. S. 654; United States v. Palmer, 3 Wheat. 630; United States v. King, 34 Fed. Rep. 306.
Section 1, Art. I, of the constitution of Maryland confers the voting franchise upon adult male citizens of the United States who have resided in the State one year. The general assembly of Maryland cannot add to these qualifications. Souther land v. Norris, 74 Maryland, 326. The term "resident," as employed in the clause of the state constitution referred to is synonymous with "citizen." Art. 7, Maryland Bill of Rights: Anderson v. Watt, 138 U. S. 702.