Political Tactics

By Michael James; Cyprian Blamires et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV. OF VOTING.

§1. General Observations.
THIS subject is both difficult and important. The freedom of an assembly resides in the expression of its will. It is necessary, therefore, so to proceed, that every one may give his vote in conformity with his real wishes, and that in the result we may be sure to have obtained the general wish.The processes of voting are susceptible of divisions derived from many sources:--
1. Voting upon questions, or voting respecting persons.+ The first takes place with reference to the adoption or rejection of a motion; the second with reference to the election of a person to an office.

There is no real difference between these two cases. To vote upon an election is to vote upon the question whether a certain individual shall be elected: to vote upon a question, is to vote upon an election whether the project shall be chosen or rejected.

2. A simple or a compound vote. The simple vote occurs when the question is so reduced that it is only necessary to say yes or no--such a project shall be adopted, or shall not--such person shall be elected or shall not.

The compound vote occurs, when many operations are to be performed;--when it is necessary to decide among many projects, to choose one person from among many candidates, or to nominate to many places.

With regard to motions, it is proper to reduce the question to the simple form, in which one side may vote by yes, and the other side by no.+

With regard to elections, the compound mode is often necessary. When a committee of twenty-four persons is to be chosen from among 1200, there will be 1200 persons eligible for each place, and twenty-four places for each of which it is necessary to choose out of 1200.

3. With reference either to motions or elections, the votes may be given secretly or openly: the secret mode is called ballot.+
4. The mode employed for obtaining a decision, may be either dependent or independent of human will.+ Hence a new distinction-- election by choice--election by lot.+
5. In conclusion, there is also regular and summary+ voting. In the regular mode, all the votes are counted, and the exact number on each side known: in the summary mode, the president puts the question, and calls upon the assembly to express its will+ by sitting down or rising up, or by holding up the hand, &c.; the president judging which party has the majority, and his decision being valid, unless objected to.

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