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Michigan's Illegal Elector

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The Electoral College of Michigan which convened at L inaing on the 6th inst., and cast the vote of the State, numbered but ten legally eleoted Electors, and but ton electoral votes were c8t for President and Vice-Presidont The narae of the eleveuth Elector, or of the eleventh man who illegally assnmed to act 'and vote as an elector, was Daniel L. Crossinan, of Ingham coanty. He was nominally electtd to fill an alleged vacancy ciused by the absence of Benton Hanchett, one of the Kepublican candidates who had supposed hiuiselt duly elected until his discovery that on the day of the election he held an " office of trust or profit under the United States " : to wit, that of tt United States Conimissioner, which made him, under the Constitution of the United States, ineligible to the office and incapable of being appointed an Elector. Hisdisqualificationdated back to tho day of the eloction and prevented him f rom being appointed or elected. The vacancy in the Electoral College was not oaused by his voluntary absence, or neglect to attend, but by a failure to elect ; and it was such a vacancy as the Electoral College was not, by provisión of law, authorized to fill. The only statute of this State which contera authority on the Electoral College (so-called) to fill vacaucies is in these words : "The Electora of President and 'Vice-Presiili'nt Bhall conveno at the capítol ot the State on the lirst Weilnesday oí December ; and if there shad be any vacancy in the office oí an Elector occ;is:onel by death, refusai to act, neglect to attend by the huur ot twelve o'clock ut noon, of that day, or on account ot any two of such electors havmg received au equal and tho same numbur oí votes, -the elecioas present shall pioceed to fill such vacancy by ballot and plurahty of votes ; and when all the electors shall appear, or vacaucies shall be tilled as above provided, tliey shall proceed to periorm the duties of such Electors, as required by the Constitutiún and laws of the United States " - Vompiled Laws oí 1871, Compilers sect. 115. A failure to elect, except by a tie vote is not a vncancy which tho Electora by the above statute, the only statute of this State beariug upon the subject, are authorized to fill ; and Judge Cooley, in his work on " Constitutional Limitations," has clearly laid down the rule that an inoligible caudidate caunot be elected. We quote : ." It several persons are to be chosen to the same oílice, the requisito number who shall stand higbest on the list will be elected. lint without such piurality no one can be chosen to a public ofKce ; and if the person receiving the higliest nuiuber of votes was ineligible, tbe votes cast for him will &till be effectuttl so far as to prevent the opposing candidato beiug chosen, and the cïection must be considered as having Jailed" This is exaetly the case in point, - the election failed, and the statute having failed to provide for the vacaucy so created the action of the Electors in assuming to fill it was without warrant of law. In a note to the paragraph of text quoted, Judge Cooley says: " But it lias been held that if the ineligibility is notorious, so that the electors must be deemed to have voted with tull knowledgu of it, the votes for the ineligible candidate must be declared void, and the uext highest candidate is chosen." Following this class of decisions, the Governor of Oregon refused to certify to the election of Watts and gave the certifícate to Cronin. It is certain that he was half right, - in"counting out'1 Watts. Discussion of the other point is uot necessary to our present pnrpose. The doctrine laid down by Judge Cooley has been repeatedly coucurred in and followed by the highest courts of inany of our States, and may be considered as settled law. We will quote what the Suprenie Court of Ehode Island, has so unaniuiously, and so late as Dec. 1, held :- l Before any person can decline under this sectiou [a section authorizmg the Electors of that Stute to fill a vacancy in case an Elector declines or is prevented by any cause from serving] he must first be elected, and no person eau bo elected who is inelligible, or in othor words incapable of being elected. ' Kesïgnation,' said Lord Cockburn, C. J., in The Queen vs. Blizzard, L. It. 2, Q. B 65, implies that the persou resigning lias Leen elected unto the omce he resigne. Aman can not resiga that which he is not eutitled to and which he has no right to occupy. We think the disqualitication is not removed by the resignation ol the office or trust, uuless the cffice is resigned before the election. The lauguage of the Constitutiou is that no person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States shall be appointed an elector. Under our law the election by the people constitutes the appointmeut." And so the Governor convened the Legislature or " General Assembly " and it proceeded to fill the vacancy caused by the failure to eleot Mr. Corliss who was ineligible on the day of election. The case in this State is exactly parallel. Mr. Hanchett was ineligible on the day of election. Mr' Hanchett was not and could not be eluctcd. Mr. Hanchett not being elected could not decline to serve, and his neglect to appear at the capítol on the first Wednesdny of January gave the Electors present no more rights than did the stayjng away from the electoral session of any other vate citizen. We repeat, the vacancy caused by a failure to elect, because of Mr. Hmchett's inoligibility to an electioii, was such a vacancy as the Electora could not fill. It muy be unfortúnate for the State that the intelligent liepublican leaders were so ignorant of the law and its requirementsas to deprive it of its full vote for President, nevertheless they have done so. The illegal vote may be counted by the allpowerful President of the Senate, and so he may oount the votes of the illegal and fraudulent Electora who will claim to cast the electoral votes of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina, but it will be in defiance of law. - We have written this article with not the slightest expectation of inttuencing tho littlo autocrat pro tempore who is to open tho certificates and count the votes, and with thia seutenco from the Lansing Repuhlican staring us in the face : " While we have a Michigan President of Senate at Washington, it will be a wonderful thing if he don't look out and preserve for his State her full vote under the Constitution." Jesso, and whethor legally or illegally cast don't mako a bit of difference, " 'sfur as that's concerned, you know." In THE Senate, on Wednesday, Mr. Eduiunds' constitutional admendment, charging the Supremo Court with the duty of canvassing tho vote of Presidential Electors, was lost by b vote of 14 to 31. Mr. Ferry voted for it, and Mr. Christiancy would have done so had he buen present. lie is at Columbia, South Caruhua, iuveatijjatiug the recent tlection.


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