Lex Cornelia Octavia de ratione comitiorum centuriatorum (Nova Roma)

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Approved by comitia centuriata
Yes: 58 No: 19 Abs.: 0
a.d. III Non. Quin. M. Octavio L. Sulla (II) cos. MMDCCLV a.u.c.

I. All previous laws relating to the Comitia Centuriata are hereby rescinded as they apply to the election of magistrates and the voting of leges by the Comitia Centuriata. This Lex Cornelia Octavia de Ratione Comitiorum Centuriatorum is hereby enacted to define the procedures by which the Comitia Centuriata shall conduct the business of electing magistrates and voting on leges.

II. Calling the Comitia to Order. Either a Consul or Praetor may, as described in the Constitution, call the Comitia to order, to hold a vote on a lex or leges, or to hold an election. The magistrate who calls the Comitia to order shall be referred to herein as the presiding magistrate.

A. This shall be done by making a public announcement announcing the call in those public fora which shall have been designated for such purpose, in which must be included:

1. The names of candidates for office and the office for which they are running (when the Comitia is being called for an election); 2. Date of Citizenship of each candidate. 3. The full text of any leges, which are being voted on (when the Comitia is being called to legislate); 4. The dates and time when the members of the Comitia shall begin and finish voting; 5. Any special instructions that pertain to the mechanics of the vote, if any.

B. The presiding magistrate shall have the responsibility for taking all reasonable precautions to ensure that candidates for a vote hold whatever qualifications are required by law. The Censors shall assist in such efforts as to the best of their ability.

III. Timing of the vote. A. The edictum containing the call to vote must be issued at least 120 hours (5 days) prior to the start of the vote. This period shall be known as the Contio, and shall be used for formal discussion of the issues and/or candidates before the People for vote. 1. In the event that, in an election for a magisterial office, there are not sufficient candidates elected to fill all vacancies in that office, the presiding magistrate may call for a follow-up election among those same candidates who failed to obtain that office in the previous election. For these follow-up elections, the 120-hour (5-day) requirement for the length of the Contio (official discussion period) shall be shortened to 24 hours.

B. During the Contio, the following conditions shall apply:

1. Those constitutionally empowered to do so may exercise their powers of intercessio or nuntiatio. a. Intercessio may be exercised against either the entire election or vote, or against one or more individual items on the ballot. If there are any items on the ballot that have not been subjected to intercessio, voting on them shall proceed normally. The removal of an item from the ballot due to intercessio shall not prevent that item from being placed upon the ballot for a different vote at a later time. b. The exercise of nuntiatio shall extend the Contio, postponing the start and end dates of the voting period by 24 hours, during which time nuntiatio may again be exercised. c. Should the exercise of nuntatio cause the voting period to move such that it conflicts with calendarical restrictions as defined by the Collegium Pontificum, the presiding magistrate may change or extend the dates of the vote and/or contio at his discretion.

2. A member of the Collegium Augurum shall be invited by the presiding magistrate to seek favorable auspices for the conduct of the vote, subject to those rules and regulations the Collegium Augurum shall set forth by decreta. Should the presiding magistrate himself be a member of the Collegium Augurum, he may take the auspices for the vote himself.

C. The period between the start and end of the voting must last no less than 120 hours (5 days).

D. The ability to vote during the voting period may be impacted and/or suspended due to calendrical issues as enacted by decreta of the Collegium Pontificum.

E. The rogatores shall tally the vote and shall deliver the results to the presiding magistrate within 48 hours of the close of the voting period.

F. The presiding magistrate shall announce the results of the vote within 24 hours of receiving the results from the rogatores, in at least the same venues as the original announcement calling the vote was published.

IV. Voting procedures. A. The censors shall issue to each citizen a unique voter identification code. This code shall be used to maintain anonymity in the voting process, and to minimize the possibility of vote fraud. In a timely fashion prior to the vote, the censors shall make available to the rogatores a list of valid voter identification codes and the centuries with which they are associated. The rogatores shall not have access to the names of the citizens associated with particular voter identification codes.

B. In consultation with the rogatores, the curator araneum shall make available a cista; a secure web-based form to allow citizens to vote directly through the official Nova Roma web site. This form shall record the voter identification number and desired vote(s) of the individual. The information thus collected will either be forwarded to the rogatores as it is gathered, or at the end of the process, at their discretion. Alternative methods of voting may be enacted by other legislation as required.

C. Each Citizen shall have the opportunity to vote for a single candidate for each office for which a vacancy exists, regardless of the number of vacancies within a given magistracy. Citizens may cast a vote for a candidate not listed on the ballot, or may waive their right to cast a vote for a given magistracy. Once cast, no vote may be altered, even with the correct voter identification code. Should multiple votes be registered with the same voter identification code, only the first one recorded shall be used when tallying the vote.

V. Procedures for counting votes. A. Votes shall be counted by centuries.

1. In the case of a magisterial election, each century shall cast a number of votes equal to the number of vacancies for the magistracy in question or the number of candidates who received individual votes from members of that century, whichever is less. Votes shall be assigned to those candidates who received votes by members of the century, with those candidates receiving the most valid individual votes receiving the century's vote first, then working down in descending order until either all the century's votes have been assigned, or there are no remaining candidates who received votes from citizens in that century. 2. In the case of a vote on a lex, each century shall vote in favor of the lex if a majority of the votes received by members of the century are in favor. Otherwise, the century shall be considered to have voted against the proposed lex. 3. Should a tie occur within a given century, the winner shall be the candidate who is a paterfamilias or materfamilias, or if such shall not decide the issue, the winner shall be decided by lot. The rogatores may decide how such decisions by lot shall be made in a fair manner. 4. No candidate may win a century unless he or she has received at least one vote from a citizen within that century.

B. A vote or election shall be decided by a majority of the centuries.

1. In the case of a magisterial election, candidates must receive votes from a simple majority of the centuries casting votes in order to win. a. Should not enough candidates receive votes from at least a simple majority of the centuries casting votes to fill all vacancies, a new election shall be called within 30 days from the end of the current election. b. Should more candidates receive votes from at least a simple majority of the centuries casting votes than there are vacancies, the winner shall be the candidate who is a paterfamilias or materfamilias, or if such shall not decide the issue, the winner shall be decided by lot. The rogatores may decide how such decisions by lot shall be made in a fair manner.

2. In the case of a vote on a lex, a simple majority of the centuries casting votes must vote in favor for the lex to be adopted. 3. "A simple majority" is hereby defined as "one half of the number of centuries casting votes, plus one". Abstentions are not considered votes, and a century in which all voters abstained shall not be counted toward this total.

C. Votes may be tallied by automated means should the rogatores determine such is preferable to, and at least as accurate as, a manual count.

D. Only the aggregate votes of the centuries shall be delivered to the presiding magistrate; the votes of individual citizens shall be secret.

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