Lex Pompeia de ratione comitiorum plebis tributorum (Nova Roma)
This lex is currently IN FORCE.
Resolved, in order to establish ongoing, simple and easily understood procedures to summon the Comitia Plebis Tributa and avoid the need for emergency decrees (Senatus consulta ultima - SCUs) by the Senate to effectively summon the Comitia Plebis Tributa, we, the Plebeian citizens of Nova Roma, enact the following:
I. Status of Previous Leges Governing the Comitia Plebis Tributa
All previous laws relating to the Comitia Plebis Tributa (hereinafter referred to as the Comitia) are hereby rescinded as they apply to the election of magistrates and the promulgation of legislation by the Comitia.
- A. The Lex Moravia de suffragiis in comitiis plebis tributis et ratione comitiorum plebis tributorum is hereby repealed.
- B. The Lex Arminia de suffragiis in comitiis tributis is hereby repealed.
- C. The Lex Grylla de magistratibus plebis creandis is hereby repealed.
II. Calling to Order the Comitia Plebis Tributa
- A. A Tribunus Plebis may, as described by the Constitution, call the Comitia to order to hold a vote on one or more of the following:
- 1. an election for office;
- 2. a Lex (law); or,
- 3. an appropriate legal proceeding.
- B. The Comitia may be summoned by the presiding magistrate by making a public declaration announcing the summons in the official public fora.
- C. The Summons must contain the following information:
- 1. The subject heading shall be: “Official Summons of the Comitia Plebis Tributa”
- 2. The text of the summons must include:
- a) If the summons is to conduct an election then the full Roman name of the candidates, dates of citizenship, an indication of whether or not they met the Constitutional and legal requirements of the office they are seeking, and the name of office they are seeking.
- b) If the summons is to vote on a lex or leges then the full text of the lex or leges or links to web pages containing the full text of the lex or leges which are being voted on; however, a draft version of the full text is acceptable at this point.
- c) If the summons is to convene a trial or other legal proceeding then the presiding magistrate will include all necessary information including but not limited to: the full Roman name of the petitioner; the full Roman name of the defendant; and, the charges or nature of the proceeding.
- d) The dates and times when the members of the Comitia shall begin and end the Contio and the start and end dates and times of the voting period.
- 3. Also, the presiding magistrate shall include any additional special instructions necessary that pertain to the mechanics of the vote.
III. The Timing of the Vote
- A. The Official Summons of the Comitia Plebis Tributa is identified as an edictum. A copy of the Official Summons will be posted on the website with the corresponding designation.
- B. The edictum containing the call to vote must be issued at least 72 hours (3 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.
- C. In the event that, in an effort to fill a Plebian office, there are not enough candidates at the time of the opening of the Contio, the presiding magistrate may accept additional candidates during the first 48 hours in the Contio. In other words, if there are five vacant offices for office of Tribuni Plebis and if, at the time the presiding magistrate summons the Comitia, only one candidate has stepped forward leaving 4 vacancies and 24 hours after the Contio has started two other citizens step forward (and have met the Constitutional requirements for the office of Tribunus Plebis) the presiding magistrate has the discretion to include those two additional individuals in the Comitia summons and add them to the ballot so a new election or a delay in the Contio does not need to take place. When accepting additional candidates during this 48 hour grace period following the start of the Contio, the presiding magistrate must not disregard any Constitutional requirements for the office which is the subject of the election. Candidates who put their names forward during the 48 hour grace period following the start of the Contio must meet the Constitutional requirements for the office they seek. Any votes cast for a candidate who does not meet the Constitutional requirements for the office that is the subject of the election will be considered null and will not be counted.
- D. A 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.
- E. During the Contio all constitutional powers remain in effect. Tribunes can issue intercessio, magistrates who share imperium or outrank in imperium may exercise their constitutionally derived powers.
- F. 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 the then current Comitia summons only. It does not prevent the item from being listed in a future Comitia summons.
- G. In voting for a Lex, the minimum Contio period must last no fewer than 120 hours (5 days).
- H. In a legal proceeding the minimum Contio period must last no fewer than 192 hours (8 days).
- I. 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.
- J. Election officials shall tally the vote and deliver the results to both the presiding magistrate and the Censores (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.
- K. The Censores 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 Censores certify the vote the Censores 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.
IV. Voting Procedures
- A. Each plebeian 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 tribe in a way that assures the anonymity of the citizens’ vote. Only plebeian citizens will be permitted to vote in the Comitia. 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, Censores, 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 a record of each ballot cast including the ballot number and 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. Procedures for Elections
- 1. The ballot shall include:
- a) The name of the office.
- b) The number of vacancies.
- c) A listing of the candidates for office listed in alphabetical order based on the candidates' nomina, praenomina, and, where applicable, cognomina and agnomina. The list shall be placed on the ballot in a single column.
- 2. Each voter shall have the option to mark each candidate “uti rogas” (or Yes) 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.” Thus, beside the name of each candidate the voter shall be able to mark his or her approval of the candidate.
- 3. A voter may vote for the number of candidates equal to the number of vacant positions. A voter shall not be required to cast votes for all vacancies. A voter may choose to vote for only some of the candidates or none of the candidates.
- 4. There shall be an area on the ballot for a write-in candidate should the voter wish to cast a vote for a candidate not listed on the ballot.
- 5. There shall be an area on the ballot for an abstention, should the voter wish to waive their right to cast any votes for a given magistracy.
- 1. The ballot shall include:
- D. Procedures for Legislation
- 1. The full text, or a link to the full text on the Nova Roma website, of each proposed law or plebiscite shall appear on the ballot. Links are permitted only if they resolve to locations in the Nova Roma Wiki or website.
- 2. Each voter shall have the option to mark each proposal “uti rogas” (or Yes), “antiquo” (or No), or “abstineo” (or Abstain). Thus, for each proposed law the voter shall be able to mark his or her approval of the plebiscite.
- E. Procedures for Trials
- 1. The ballot shall include the name of the accused, the name of the accuser or party bringing the charges, and the charges and specifications brought against the accused.
- 2. There shall be an area on the ballot where each voter shall have the option to vote "absolvo" (or Innocent), "condemno" (or Guilty), or “abstineo” (or Abstain - should the voter wish to waive his or her right to vote on the accused's guilt or innocence). Thus, beside the name of the accused, the voter shall be able to mark his or her determination of innocence or guilt.
- F. 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 counting the vote and any subsequent ballots registered with the same voter identification code shall be considered null and void.
V. Procedures for Counting Votes
- A. Votes shall be counted by tribes.
- B. The Voting period for the Comitia, shall be no fewer than 168 hours (7 days). All tribes are allowed to vote at the commencement of the voting period. The presiding magistrate will notify the Comitia of the opening of the voting period via the official public fora and a notice will be posted on the website.
- C. If the Comitia was summoned to vote in an election, the results are calculated as follows:
- 1. Each tribe will rank the candidates based on the voting results of that tribe with the candidate receiving the highest number of votes ranked first and other candidates ranked similarly based on the number of votes received in the tribe from highest to lowest.
- 2. The candidate that wins the most votes is declared the winner of that tribe.
- 3. If there is a tie in deciding who won the tribe, a winner will be determined using the procedure established in Paragraph VI (Breaking of Ties) of this Lex (by resolving 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 tribe should have more than one winner, those being the highest and second highest vote totals per tribe, etc until all vacancies are filled.
- 4. This process will be done for each tribe that voted. The winner then is determined by which candidate won the most tribes, until all office vacancies are filled.
- D. If the Comitia was summoned to approve a Lex or Leges, a simple majority of those tribes casting votes must vote in favor for the Lex to be adopted. A simple majority is defined for this purpose as one half of the number of tribes casting votes plus one, with any fractions being rounded down. If a tribe is tied, the tribe will be counted as a ‘No’ vote and there will be no tie breaking procedure. A tribe in which no voter cast votes is declared vacant and shall not be counted or used to determine the outcome of the vote.
- E. If the Comitia was summoned to conduct a legal proceeding, a majority of the tribes must vote in favor of conviction in order for the accused to be condemned. In the case of a trial before the Comitia Plebis Tributa, a majority is defined as one half of the total number of tribes, plus one, fractions being rounded down. Even those tribes in which no voters cast votes shall be counted, as implicit votes for acquittal, toward the total. If a tribe has no members enrolled the election officials are instructed to remove those tribes from consideration during the vote counting process. Thus, only tribes with at least one citizen enrolled shall be counted to determine the outcome of a legal proceeding – any tribe without at least one enrolled citizen (vacant tribes) shall not be counted.
- F. 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.
- G. Results shall be tabulated by tribe.
- H. Only the aggregate votes of the tribes shall be delivered to the presiding magistrate; the votes of individual citizens shall be secret.
VI. Breaking of Ties
The following are the only methods to be utilized to determine the results of ties. The process to be used will be exactly, and only, in the order shown - in other words no choosing. If a victor is not determined by Tie Breaker #1 then Tie Breaker #2 will be used, and if a clear winner is not determined by Tie Breaker #2 then Tie Breaker #3 will be used to determine a winner. If there is still no clear winner then Tie Breaker #4 will be used. The tie breaking method outlined here will be utilized to resolve ties within individual tribes as well as in the sum total of the Comitia.
- A. Tie Breaker #1: If a tie between candidates occurs, the candidate who has been a citizen of Nova Roma the longest, as determined by the Censores based on the date of citizenship recorded in the Album Civium, shall prevail.
- B. Tie Breaker #2: If the candidates remain tied because they have the same length of time as citizens of Nova Roma then the candidate with the largest number of Century Points, as determined by the Censores based on the Century Point totals recorded in the Album Civium, shall prevail.
- C. Tie Breaker #3: If the candidates remain tied because they have the same length of citizenship and the same number of Century Points recorded in the Album Civium then the oldest candidate, as determined by the Censores based date of birth, shall be prevail.
- D. Tie Breaker #4: In the highly unlikely event that the candidates have the same length of citizenship, same number of Century Points and the same date of birth then the tie shall be resolved by the Censores using a random lot to determine the winner. In this final method to break a tie, a random lot will be drawn until the tie is resolved and a clear winner is determined. The Censores of Nova Roma shall determine which types of random lots are appropriate for use in tie breaking. The casting of a random lot must be witnessed by at least three Senators and one Pontifex. Neither of the Censores may act as witnesses. The casting of random lot may be conducted and witnessed online using appropriate video conferencing technology.
VII. Certification of the Vote
- A. The Censores have the responsibility and powers to investigate any verifiable concern regarding the voting in the Comitia at any time during the voting period and up to 24 hours after the presiding magistrate has announced the close of the voting period.
- B. If the Censores need additional time, one or both Censores may seek an extension of time from the presiding magistrate. The presiding magistrate has the discretion to approve an extension or not.
- C. The Censores formally certify the election by sending a written notification to the presiding magistrate that they, “Approve and certify the Comitia results.”
- D. If the Censores fail to approve and certify the Comitia results:
- 1. The Censores are required to explain their rationale to the presiding magistrate.
- 2. 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.
- a) If the Senate decides to override the decision of the Censores, the Censores can either (1) certify the election or (2) refuse to sign. If the Censores choose to refuse to sign, the Senate certifies the election in place of the Censores.
- b) If the Senate determines that the Censores issues are valid and agree with the Censores the results of the Comitia are null and void.
- 3. The presiding magistrate notifies the People and closes the Comitia and the Comitia will need to be completely restarted.
- E. If the Censores fail to respond within the 24 hour timeframe, the Censores are deemed to have consented and the Comitia results can then be posted by the presiding magistrate.