Lex Cornelia de ratione comitiorum centuriatorum (Nova Roma)
This lex is currently IN FORCE.
Resolved, it is the purpose of this lex to establish ongoing, simple and easily understood procedures to summon the Comitia Centuriata. In the past 3 years Nova Roma has been unable to function the Comitias under the existing procedures and thusly required the Senate to pass Emergency Decrees (SCUs) to resolve this impasse. By promulgating this lex no further SCU will be needed to summon this Comitia (Comitia Centuriata).
Pursuant to Section III B of the Constitution of Nova Roma, empowers the Comitia to establish procedures and rules for which it is allowed to operate. All previous legislation previously passed is hereby rescinded and repealed.
I. Laws Repealed or Rescinded
Laws effectively repealed include but are not limited to: Lex Fabia de Ratione Comitorium Centuriatorum and the Lex Curiatia Iulia de ratione comitiorum centuriatorum.
II. Calling to Order the Comitia Centuriata
- a. Either a Consul, Praetor, or Interrex (hereinafter referred to as presiding magistrate) may, as described by the Constitution call the Comitia Centuriata (hereinafter referred to as “The Comitia”) in order to hold a vote on the following: A Lex, a series of leges, to hold an election or to conduct an appropriate legal proceeding.
- i. The Comitia may be summoned by the presiding magistrate by making a public declaration announcing the summons in the official public fora.
- ii. It is recommended that the presiding magistrate seek auspices with a member of the College of Augurs or an appropriate alternative.
- iii. The Summons must contain the following information:
- Subject heading: Official Summons of the Comitia Centuriata
- In the text of the message must include:
- Candidates, date of citizenship, if they met the Constitutional and legal requirements of the office they are seeking, and The office they are seeking.
- Full text of leges which are being voted on, draft version is acceptable at this point.
- The dates and time when the members of the Comitia shall begin and end the Contio and the start and end date of the voting period.
- Also, the presiding magistrate shall include any additional special instructions necessary that pertain to the mechanics of the vote.
- In the event of a legal proceeding the presiding magistrate will include all necessary information including but not limited to:
- Name of the petitioner, name of the defendant, the charges specified.
- iii. The Summons must contain the following information:
- iv. The Timing of the Vote.
- 1. The Official Summons of the Comitia Centuriata is identified as an edictum. A copy of the Official Summons will be posted on the Website with the corresponding designation.
- 2. The edictum containing the call to vote must be issued at least 120 hours (5 days) prior to the start of the voting session. This period shall be known as the Contio and during this time formal discussion of the agenda (leges and legal proceeding) and/or candidates shall take place.
- 3. In the event that, in an effort to fill a magisterial office, there are not enough candidates at the time of the opening of the Contio, the presiding magistrate may accept additional candidates up to 48 hours remaining in the Contio. In other words, there are two vacant offices for office of Praetor – at the time the presiding magistrate summons the Comitia only one candidate has stepped forward – leaving 1 vacancy. 24 hours after the Contio has started another citizen has stepped forward (and has met the requirements) the presiding magistrate has the discretion to include that individual in this comitia summons, a new election or a delay in the existing contio does not need to take place. The acceptance of late accepting magistrates does not give the presiding magistrate to disregard any constitutional requirements for office.
- 4. Final draft of all legislation being voted on must be presented to the Comitia at least 48 hours prior to the close of the Contio.
- 5. During the Contio all the necessary constitutionally empowered positions and powers are all available. Tribunes can issue intercessio, magistrates who share imperium or outrank in imperium may exercise their constitutionally derived powers.
- 6. Intercessio may be exercised against the following: The entire election, vote, one specific item on the agenda, or multiple items on the agenda. The removal of an item or items is effective for the length of this comitia summons only. It does not prevent the item from being listed in a future Comitia summons.
- 7. In voting for a lex, the minimum contio period must last no fewer than 120 hours (5 days).
- 8. In a legal proceeding the minimum contio period must last no fewer than 192 hours (8 days).
- 9. The ability to vote during the voting period may be impacted due to calendar issues as enacted by decreta of the Collegium Pontificum. Any impact must be announced by the presiding magistrate.
- 10. Election officials shall tally the vote and deliver the results to both the presiding magistrate and the Censors (Secretaries of the Corporation) within 48 hours of the close of voting period. The presiding magistrate cannot announce the result until the certification process is fulfilled.
- 11. The Censors have 24 hours to certify the results given by the election officials. They have the ability to review all actions taken by the election officials to ensure accuracy and impartiality. Once the Censors certify the vote and/or election the Censors or the presiding magistrate shall announce the result(s) in the appropriate official public fora. Once completed the presiding magistrate shall bring the Comitia to a close.
III. Voting Procedures
- A. Each citizen will receive a unique voter identification code. This code shall be used to maintain anonymity in the voting process, and to minimize the possibility of voter fraud. The voter identification code can be issued via automatic process by the web based secured form used or by the 3rd party alternative. If an automated process is impractical, or non-existent the Censores shall in a timely manner, prior to vote, issue the voter codes, delivered to the citizens and supply the electoral officers with the list of valid voter codes within each Century in a way that assures the anonymity of the citizens vote. The election officials shall not have access to the names of the citizens associated with the particular voter identification codes, nor shall the election officials have access to the Censor tools or censor database.
- B. The election officials, Censors, Web Master, or any authorized or appointed official shall make available a cista (a secure web-based form – internal voting platform) or a secured 3rd party alternative (currently Nova Roma uses votingplace.net) that will allow citizens to vote. It is highly recommended that a link is posted on the Nova Roma website, and a link posted in the official public fora before the voting period is open. The election officials will keep record of the voter identification number and the desired vote of the individual. The information thus collected will be either forwarded to the election officials 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. In the case of a magisterial election, each voter shall have the option to mark each candidate “Yes (uti rogas) or leave the candidate unmarked; each ballot shall carry the following direction: “You may vote for 1 candidate per office vacancy, please select the magistrate you most strongly support.” In the case of legislation, for each proposed law, each voter shall have to option to vote “yes (uti rogas) or “no (antiquo).” In the case of a legal proceeding each voter shall have the option to vote “absolve” (I absolve, innocent) or “condemn” (I condemn, guilty).
- D. 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 recorded vote shall be used in tallying the vote.
IV. Procedures for Counting Votes
- A. Votes shall be counted by centuries.
- B. In the case of magisterial election the votes of each century shall be calculated as follows. For each century the candidates shall be ranked in order by the number of yes votes they receive. The candidate(s) that receives the most “yes” votes wins the century. Ties will be decided by using the procedure established in "THE BREAKING OF TIES" section of this lex. If more than one office is vacant the HIGHEST ranked member wins until all offices are filled. If no one in the century votes, the century is skipped and the election officials move to the next century.
- C. In the case of a vote on a lex, each century shall vote in favor of the lex if a majority of votes received by members of that century are in favor. If no one in the century votes, the century is skipped and the election officials move to the next century.
- D. In the case of a vote on a legal proceeding before the Comitia Centuriata, each century shall vote for conviction if a majority of the votes is received from the members of that century are marked “condemno.” Ties within a century will result in that century voting to acquit. If no one in the century votes, the century is skipped and the election officials move to the next century.
- E. The Voting period for the Comitia, shall be no fewer than 168 hours (7 days). All centuries are allowed to vote at the commencement of the voting period. The presiding magistrate will notify the Comitia the opening of the voting period via the official public fora and a notice will be posted on the website.
- F. Results shall be counted by century.
- G. In case of magisterial elections the results are calculated as follows:
- a. Each century will rank the candidates voting results from highest to lowest. The candidate that wins the most votes is declared the winner of that century. If there is a tie in deciding who won the century, Ties will be decided by using the procedure established in "THE BREAKING OF TIES" section of this lex (by breaking the tie between the candidates who are tied). Depending on the number of vacancies there could be more than one winner. (If there is more than one vacancy, each century should have more than one winner, those being the highest and second highest vote totals per century, etc etc until all vacancies are filled.) This process will be done for each century that voted. The winner then is determined by which candidate won the most centuries, until all office vacancies are filled.
- H. In the case of a magisterial election, a majority is defined as one the candidate who receives the most centuries per vacancy (not counting those centuries that did not vote).
- I. In the case of lex or leges, a simple majority of centuries casting votes must vote in favor for the lex to be adopted. In the case of a vote on the a lex or Leges, a simple majority is defined as one half of the number of centuries casting votes plus one, fractions being rounded down. If a Century is tied, the century will be counted as a No vote, there will be no tie breaking procedure. A century in which no voter cast votes shall not be counted.
- J. In the case of a legal proceeding, a majority of the centuries must vote in favor of conviction in order for the accused to be condemned. In the case of a trial before the Comitia Centuriata, a "majority" is defined as "one half of the total number of centuries, plus one, fractions being rounded down."
- a. Even those centuries in which no voters cast votes shall be counted, as implicit votes for acquittal, toward the total. If a Century has no members enrolled the election officials are instructed to remove those centuries from consideration during the vote counting process – Only centuries with individuals may determine the outcome of a legal proceeding.
- K. Votes may be tallied by automated means should the election officials determine such is preferable to, and at least as accurate as a manual count.
- L. Only the aggregate voters of the centuries shall be delivered to the presiding magistrate; the votes of individual citizen shall be secret.
V. The Breaking of Ties
The following are the only three methods to be utilized to determine the results of ties. The process to be used will be in numerical order – in other words no choosing. If a victor is not determined by the method #1 - then #2 will be used and then #3 until a winner shall be determined. This will be utilized for both ties in individual centuries and in the sum total of the Comitia.
- 1. In case of tied candidates the tie is resolved giving the highest position to the candidate who has been a citizen of Nova Roma the longest.
- 2. If the above tie breaking process does not resolve the tie situation the winning candidate between the tied candidates will be the one with the most century points.
- 3. If the above two tie breaking processes fail to break the tie the result will be determined between the ages of the tied candidates. The oldest candidate will be declared the winner of the tie.
Addendum: In the event that Nova Roma implements a Cista voting platform (internally controlled) and can establish a random tie breaking program that cannot be tampered with to manipulate the results, (Even the implication of tampering could damage the credibility of our electoral process and must be avoided to the extent of our ability to do so. Nothing must infringe on the integrity of the election.) Such a tie breaking program would need to be thoroughly tested and endorsed by the Senate of Nova Roma, prior to being used by the Comitia. Upon this requirement being satisfied the election officers may use a lot breaking device with the approval and consent of the Censors The Censors through the certification process must be confident that the integrity of the tie breaking procedure is both beyond the bounds of human manipulation and that the will of the People through the vote is maintained. The entire electoral process must be, and be seen to be, entirely credible and transparent. Once completed then the Certification process may progress as written in this Lex.
In addition, the presiding magistrate has the duty and responsibility to request a member of the College of Pontifices or appropriate Priest to conduct a ceremonia, at the start of a vote, to address the State’s need to utilize a method of tie resolution that does not utilize chance and a more direct form of divine intervention due to the corruption and tampering of men.
VI. Certification Process
The Censors have the responsibility and powers to investigate any verifiable concern regarding the vote, within the timeframe. If the censors need additional time, one or both censor’s may seek an extension of time from the presiding magistrate. The presiding magistrate has the discretion to approve an extension or not. The Censors certify the election by sending a notification to the presiding magistrate that they “Approve and sign off on the Comitia results.”
If the Censors fail to sign off on the certification process they are required to explain their rationale to the presiding magistrate. With this notification the presiding magistrate notifies the Senate. Within 48 hours, the presiding magistrate issues an emergency summons of the Senate for the sole purpose of addressing this issue and to promulgate a Senatus Consulta based on the Comitia situation. If the Senate decides to override the Censors decision the Censors can
- 1. Certify the election or
- 2. Refuse to sign.
If the Censors choose to refuse to sign, the Senate certifies the election in place of the Censors. If the Senate determines that the Censors issues are valid and side with the Censors the results of the Comitia are null and void. The Presiding magistrate notifies the People and closes the Comitia and the Comitia will need to be completely restarted.
If the Censors fail to respond within the 24 hour timeframe, the Censors are deemed to have consented and the Comitia results can then be posted by the presiding magistrate.