Article VIII, Alabama Constitution
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| Text of Section 177:
Age and Citizenship Qualifications of Electors
Every male citizen of this state who is a citizen of the United States, and every male resident of foreign birth, who, before the ratification of this Constitution, shall have legally declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States, twenty-one years old or upwards, not laboring under any of the disabilities named in this article, and possessing the qualifications required by it, shall be an elector, and shall be entitled to vote at any election by the people; provided, that all foreigners who have legally declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, shall, if they fail to become citizens thereof at the time they are entitled to become such, cease to have the right to vote until they become such citizens.
| Text of Section 178:
Residency, Registration and Poll Tax Requirements for Electors
To entitle a person to vote at any election by the people, he shall have resided in the state at least two years, in the county one year, and in the precinct or ward three months, immediately preceding the election at which he offers to vote, and he shall have been duly registered as an elector, and shall have paid on or before the first day of February next preceding the date of the election at which he offers to vote, all poll taxes due from him for the year nineteen hundred and one, and for each subsequent year; provided, that any elector who, within three months next preceding the date of the election at which he offers to vote, has removed from one precinct or ward to another precinct or ward in the same county, incorporated town, or city, shall have the right to vote in the precinct or ward from which he has so removed, if he would have been entitled to vote in such precinct or ward but for such removal.
| Text of Section 179:
Method of Voting
All elections by the people shall be by ballot, and all elections by persons in a representative capacity shall be viva voce.
| Text of Section 180:
Persons Qualified to Register as Electors Prior to December 20, 1902
The following male citizens of this state, who are citizens of the United States, and every male resident of foreign birth who, before the ratification of this Constitution, shall have legally declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States, and who shall not have had an opportunity to perfect his citizenship prior to the twentieth day of December, nineteen hundred and two, twenty-one years old or upwards, who, if their place of residence shall remain unchanged, will have, at the date of the next general election the qualifications as to residence prescribed in section 178 of this Constitution, and who are not disqualified under section 182 of this Constitution, shall, upon application, be entitled to register as electors prior to the twentieth day of December, nineteen hundred and two, namely:
First. - All who have honorably served in the land or naval forces of the United States in the war of 1812, or in the war with Mexico, or in any war with the Indians, or in the war between the states, or in the war with Spain, or who honorably served in the land or naval forces of the Confederate States, or of the State of Alabama in the war between the states; or,
Second. - The lawful descendants of persons who honorably served in the land or naval forces of the United States in the war of the American Revolution, or in the war of 1812, or in the war with Mexico, or in any war with the Indians, or in the war between the states, or in the land or naval forces of the Confederate States, or of the State of Alabama in the war between the states; or,
Third. - All persons who are of good character and who understand the duties and obligations of citizenship under a republican form of government.
| Text of Section 181:
Same After January 1, 1903
After the first day of January, nineteen hundred and three, the following persons, and no others, who, if their place of residence shall remain unchanged, will have, at the date of the next general election, the qualifications as to residence prescribed in section 178 of this article, shall be qualified to register as electors; provided, they shall not be disqualified under section 182 of this Constitution.
First. - Those who can read and write any article of the Constitution of the United States in the English language, and who are physically unable to work; and those who can read and write any article of the Constitution of the United States in the English language, and who have worked or been regularly engaged in some lawful employment, business, or occupation, trade or calling, for the greater part of the twelve months next preceding the time they offer to register; and those who are unable to read and write, if such inability is due solely to physical disability; or,
Second. - The owner in good faith in his own right, or the husband of a woman who is the owner in good faith, in her own right, of forty acres of land situate in this state, upon which they reside; or the owner in good faith in his own right, or the husband of any woman who is the owner in good faith, in her own right, of real estate situate in this state, assessed for taxation at the value of three hundred dollars or more, or the owner in good faith, in his own right, or the husband of a woman who is the owner in good faith, in her own right, of personal property in this state assessed for taxation at three hundred dollars or more; provided, that the taxes due upon such real or personal property for the year next preceding the year in which he offers to register shall have been paid, unless the assessment shall have been legally contested and is undetermined.
| Text of Section 182:
Certain Persons Disqualified from Registering and Voting
The following persons shall be disqualified both from registering, and from voting, namely:
All idiots and insane persons; those who shall by reason of conviction of crime be disqualified from voting at the time of the ratification of this Constitution; those who shall be convicted of treason, murder, arson, embezzlement, malfeasance in office, larceny, receiving stolen property, obtaining property or money under false pretenses, perjury, subornation of perjury, robbery, assault with intent to rob, burglary, forgery, bribery, assault and battery on the wife, bigamy, living in adultery, sodomy, incest, rape, miscegenation, crime against nature, or any crime punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary, or of any infamous crime or crime involving moral turpitude; also, any person who shall be convicted as a vagrant or tramp, or of selling or offering to sell his vote or the vote of another, or of buying or offering to buy the vote of another, or of making or offering to make a false return in any election by the people or in any primary election to procure the nomination or election of any person to any office, or of suborning any witness or registrar to secure the registration of any person as an elector.
| Text of Section 183:
Qualifications as Elector Required to Participate in Primary Elections, Party Conventions, Mass Meetings or Other Methods of Political Party Action
No person shall be qualified to vote, or participate in any primary election, party convention, mass meeting, or other method of party action of any political party or faction, who shall not possess the qualifications prescribed in this article for an elector, or who shall be disqualified from voting under the provisions of this article.
| Text of Section 184:
Applicability of Article as to Elections Held After 1902 General Election
No person, not registered and qualified as an elector under the provisions of this article, shall vote at the general election in nineteen hundred and two, or at any subsequent state, county, or municipal election, general, local, or special; but the provisions of this article shall not apply to any election held prior to the general election in the year nineteen hundred and two.
| Text of Section 185:
Oath or Affirmation when Vote Challenged; False Oath or Affirmation Constitutes Perjury
Any elector whose right to vote shall be challenged for any legal cause before an election officer, shall be required to swear or affirm that the matter of the challenge is untrue before his vote shall be received, and anyone who willfully swears or affirms falsely thereto, shall be guilty of perjury, and upon conviction thereof shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than five years.
| Text of Section 186:
Legislature to Provide for Registration Procedure after January 1, 1903; Procedure for Registration to January 1, 1903
The legislature shall provide by law for the registration, after the first day of January, nineteen hundred and three, of all qualified electors. Until the first day of January, nineteen hundred and three, all electors shall be registered under and in accordance with the requirements of this section, as follows:
First - Registration shall be conducted in each county by a board of three reputable and suitable persons resident in the county, who shall not hold any elective office during their term, to be appointed, within sixty days after the ratification of this Constitution, by the governor, auditor, and commissioner of agriculture and industries, or by a majority of them acting as a board of appointment. If one or more of the persons appointed on such a board of registration shall refuse, neglect, or be unable to qualify or serve, or if a vacancy or vacancies occur in the membership of the board of registrars from any cause, the governor, auditor, and commissioner of agriculture and industries, or a majority of them, acting as a board of appointment, shall make other appointments to fill such board. Each registrar shall receive two dollars per day, to be paid by the state, and disbursed by the several judges of probate, for each entire day's attendance upon the session of the board. Before entering upon the performance of the duties of his office, each registrar shall take the same oath required of the judicial officers of the state, which oath may be administered by any person authorized by law to administer oaths. The oath shall be in writing and subscribed by the registrar, and filed in the office of the judge of probate of the county.
Second - Prior to the first day of August, nineteen hundred and two, the board of registrars in each county shall visit each precinct at least once, and oftener if necessary, to make a complete registration of all persons entitled to register, and shall remain there at least one day from eight o'clock in the morning until sunset. They shall give at least twenty days' notice of the time when, and the place in the precinct where, they will attend to register applicants for registration, by bills posted at five or more public places in each election precinct, and by advertisement once a week for three successive weeks in a newspaper, if there be one published in the county. Upon failure to give such notice, or to attend any appointment made by them in any precinct, they shall, after like notice, fill new appointments therein; but the time consumed by the board in completing such registration shall not exceed sixty working days in any county, except that in counties of more than nine hundred square miles in area, such board may consume seventy-five working days in completing the registration, and except that in counties in which there is any city of eight thousand or more inhabitants, the board may remain in session, in addition to the time hereinbefore prescribed, for not more than three successive weeks in each of such cities; and thereafter the board may sit from time to time in each of such cities not more than one week in each month, and except that in the county of Jefferson the board may hold an additional session of not exceeding five consecutive days' duration for each session, in each town or city of more than one thousand and less than eight thousand inhabitants. No person shall be registered except at the county site or in the precinct in which he resides. The registrars shall issue to each person registered a certificate of registration.
Third - The board of registrars shall not register any person between the first day of August, nineteen hundred and two, and the Friday next preceding the day of election in November, nineteen hundred and two. On Friday and Saturday next preceding the day of election in November, nineteen hundred and two, they shall sit in the courthouse of each county during such days, and shall register all applicants having the qualifications prescribed by section 180 of this Constitution and not disqualified under section 182, who shall have reached the age of twenty-one years after the first day of August, nineteen hundred and two, or who shall prove to the reasonable satisfaction of the board that, by reason of physical disability or unavoidable absence from the county, they had no opportunity to register prior to the first day of August, nineteen hundred and two, and they shall not on such days register any other persons. When there are two or more courthouses in a county, the registrars may sit during such two days at the courthouse they may select, but shall give ten days' notice, by bills posted at each of the courthouses, designating the courthouse at which they will sit.
Fourth - The board of registrars shall hold sessions at the courthouse of their respective counties during the entire third week in November, nineteen hundred and two, and for six working days next prior to the twentieth day of December, nineteen hundred and two, during which sessions they shall register all persons applying who possess the qualifications prescribed in section 180 of this Constitution, and who shall not be disqualified under section 182. In counties where there are two or more courthouses the board of registrars shall divide the time equally between them. The board of registrars shall give notice of the time and place of such sessions by posting notices at each courthouse in their respective counties, and at each voting place and at three other public places in the county, and by publication once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper, if one be published in the county; such notices to be posted and such publications to be commenced as early as practicable in the first week of November, nineteen hundred and two. Failure on the part of the registrars to conform to the provisions of this article as to the giving of the required notices shall not invalidate any registration made by them.
Fifth - The board of registrars shall have power to examine, under oath or affirmation, all applicants for registration, and to take testimony touching the qualifications of such applicants. Each member of such board is authorized to administer the oath to be taken by the applicants and witnesses, which shall be in the following form, and subscribed by the person making it, and preserved by the board, namely: "I solemnly swear (or affirm) that in the matter of the application of ... for registration as an elector, I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God." Any person who upon such examination makes any willfully false statement in reference to any material matter touching the qualification of any applicant for registration shall be guilty of perjury, and upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than five years.
Sixth - The action of the majority of the board of registrars shall be the action of the board, and a majority of the board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of all business. Any person to whom registration is denied shall have the right of appeal, without giving security for costs, within thirty days after such denial, by filing a petition in the circuit court or court of like jurisdiction held for the county in which he seeks to register, to have his qualifications as an elector determined. Upon the filing of the petition the clerk of the court shall give notice thereof to any solicitor authorized to represent the state in said county, whose duty it shall be to appear and defend against the petition on behalf of the state. Upon such trial the court shall charge the jury only as to what constituted the qualifications that entitled the applicant to become an elector at the time he applied for registration, and the jury shall determine the weight and effect of the evidence and return a verdict. From the judgment rendered an appeal will lie to the supreme court in favor of the petitioner, to be taken within thirty days. Final judgment in favor of the petitioner shall entitle him to registration as of the date of his application to the registrars.
Seventh - The secretary of state shall, at the expense of the state, have prepared and shall furnish to the registrars and judges of probate of the several counties, a sufficient number of registration books and of blank forms of the oath, certificates of registration and notices required to be given by the registrars. The cost of the publication in newspapers of the notices required to be given by the registrars shall be paid by the state, the bills therefor to be rendered to the secretary of state and approved by him.
Eighth - Any person who registers for another, or who registers more than once, and any registrar who enters the name of any person on the list of registered voters, without such person having made application in person under oath on a form provided for that purpose, or who knowingly registers any person more than once, or who knowingly enters a name upon the registration list as the name of a voter, without any one of that name applying to register, shall be guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than five years.
| Text of Section 187:
County Board of Registrars to Furnish List of Registered Voters to Judges of Probate by February 1, 1903; Judges of Probate to File List with Secretary of State by March 1, 1903; Term for Which Registration Valid; Certificate of Registration to Be Furnished Elector when Place of Residence Changed
County board of registrars to furnish list of registered voters to judges of probate by February 1, 1903; judges of probate to file list with secretary of state by March 1, 1903; term for which registration valid; certificate of registration to be furnished elector when place of residence changed.
The board of registrars in each county shall, on or before the first day of February, nineteen hundred and three, or as soon thereafter as practicable, file in the office of the judge of probate in their county, a complete list sworn to by them of all persons registered in their county, showing the age of such persons so registered, with the precinct or ward in which each of such persons resides set opposite the name of such persons, and shall also file a like list in the office of the secretary of state. The judge of probate shall, on or before the first day of March, nineteen hundred and three, or as soon thereafter as practicable, cause to be made from such list in duplicate, in the books furnished by the secretary of state, an alphabetical list by precincts of the persons shown by the list of the registrars to have been registered in the county, and shall file one of such alphabetical lists in the office of the secretary of state; for which services by the judges of probate compensation shall be provided by the legislature. The judges of probate shall keep both the original list filed by the registrars and the alphabetical list made therefrom as records in the office of the judge of probate of the county. Unless he shall become disqualified under the provisions of this article, any one who shall register prior to the first day of January, nineteen hundred and three, shall remain an elector during life, and shall not be required to register again unless he changes his residence, in which event he may register again on production of his certificate. The certificate of the registrars or of the judge of probate or of the secretary of state shall be sufficient evidence to establish the fact of such life registration. Such certificate shall be issued free of charge to the elector, and the legislature shall provide by law for the renewal of such certificate when lost, mutilated, or destroyed.
| Text of Section 188:
Certain Information to Be Furnished Prior to Registration
From and after the first day of January, nineteen hundred and three, any applicant for registration may be required to state under oath, to be administered by the registrar or by any person authorized by law to administer oaths, where he lived during the five years next preceding the time at which he applies to register, and the name or names by which he was known during that period, and the name of his employer or employers, if any, during such period. Any applicant for registration who refuses to state such facts, or any of them, shall not be entitled to register, and any person so offering to register, who willfully makes a false statement in regard to such matters or any of them, shall be guilty of perjury, and upon conviction thereof shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than five years.
| Text of Section 189:
Testimony May Be Required of Any Person Other than Defendant in Trials of Contested Elections, Proceedings to Investigate Elections and Criminal Prosecutions under Election Laws; Immunity from Prosecution Due to Testimony Given
In the trial of any contested election, and in proceedings to investigate any election and in criminal prosecutions for violations of the election laws, no person other than a defendant in such criminal prosecutions shall be allowed to withhold his testimony on the ground that he may criminate himself or subject himself to public infamy; but such person shall not be prosecuted for any offense arising out of the transactions concerning which he testified, but may be prosecuted for perjury committed on such examination.
| Text of Section 190:
Duty of Legislature to Pass Laws Regulating Elections, Primary Elections and Purging of Registration Lists
The legislature shall pass laws not inconsistent with this Constitution to regulate and govern elections and all such laws shall be uniform throughout the state; and shall provide by law for the manner of holding elections and of ascertaining the result of the same, and shall provide general registration laws not inconsistent with the provisions of this article for the registration of all qualified electors from and after the first day of January, nineteen hundred and three. The legislature shall also make provision by law, not inconsistent with this article, for the regulation of primary elections, and for punishing frauds at the same, but shall not make primary elections compulsory. The legislature shall by law provide for purging the registration list of the names of those who die, become insane, or convicted of crime, or otherwise disqualified as electors under the provisions of this Constitution, and of any names which may have been fraudulently entered on such list by the registrars; provided, that a trial by jury may be had on the demand of any person whose name is proposed to be stricken from the list.
| Text of Section 191:
Protection Against Evils of Intoxicating Liquors at Elections
It shall be the duty of the legislature to pass adequate laws giving protection against the evils arising from the use of intoxicating liquors at all elections.
| Text of Section 192:
Electors Immune from Arrest Going to, Attending and Returning from Elections
Electors shall in all cases, except treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at elections, or while going to or returning therefrom.
| Text of Section 193:
Returns of Elections for Certain Officials to Be Made to Secretary of State
Returns of elections for members of the legislature and for all civil officers who are to be commissioned by the governor, except the attorney-general, state auditor, secretary of state, state treasurer, superintendent of education, and commissioner of agriculture and industries, shall be made to the secretary of state.
| Text of Section 194:
Poll Tax Amount; Maximum Age for Payment; When Due and Payable; When Delinquent; Returns of Collections to Be Separate from Other Collections
The poll tax mentioned in this article shall be one dollar and fifty cents upon each male inhabitant of the state, over the age of twenty-one years, and under the age of forty-five years, who would not now be exempt by law; but the legislature is authorized to increase the maximum age fixed in this section to not more than sixty years. Such poll tax shall become due and payable on the first day of October in each year, and become delinquent on the first day of the next succeeding February, but no legal process, nor any fee or commission shall be allowed for the collection thereof. The tax collector shall make returns of poll tax collections separate from other collections.
| Text of Section 195:
Same Payment of Tax of Another; Advance of Money for Payment in Order to Influence Vote
Any person who shall pay the poll tax of another, or advance him money for that purpose in order to influence his vote, shall be guilty of bribery, and upon conviction therefor shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than five years.
| Text of Section 196:
Severability of Article
If any section or subdivision of this article shall, for any reason, be or be held by any court of competent jurisdiction and of final resort to be invalid, inoperative, or void, the residue of this article shall not be thereby invalidated or affected.