Select Statutes and Other Documents: Illustrative of the History of the United States, 1861-1898

By William MacDonald | Go to book overview

No. 104. Use of the Army at the Polls
May 4, 1880

THE army appropriation act of June 18, 1878, forbade the use of the army as a posse comitatus save as authorized by the Constitution or an act of Congress. The army appropriation bill of the next year, containing a provision prohibiting the use of the army at the polls, was vetoed by President Hayes. The army bill of 1880 was reported in the House March 30, and April 13 the amendment contained in section 2 of the act was agreed to, the vote being 117 to 96, 79 not voting. April 22, in the Senate, amendments offered by Edmunds, Blaine, and others to nullify this section were rejected and the bill passed, the final vote being 28 to 18.

REFERENCES.--Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XXI, 113, 114. For the proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 46th Cong., 2d Sess., and the Cong. Record. Hayes's veto message of April 29, 1879, reviews the previous legislation.

An act making appropriations for the support of the Army for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and eighty-one, and for other purposes.

SEC. 2. That no money appropriated in this act is appropriated or shall be paid for the subsistence, equipment, transportation, or compensation of any portion of the Army of the United States to be used as a police force to keep the peace at the polls at any election held within any State: Provided, That nothing in this provision shall be construed to prevent the use of troops to protect against domestic violence in each of the States on application of the legislature thereof or of the executive when the legislature cannot be convened.

APPROVED, May 4, 1880.

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