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APPENDIX I.: a paper on elections, election statistics, and general votes of yes or no. - Francis Lieber, On Civil Liberty and Self-Government 
On Civil Liberty and Self-Government, 3rd revised edition, ed. Theodore D. Woolsey (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1883).
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a paper on elections, election statistics, and general votes of yes or no.
Conscientious and well-informed men may possibly differ in opinion as to the question whether Cromwell was at any time the freely accepted ruler of the English people; whether he was gladly supported by the people at large and readily acquiesced in by a small minority; whether he imposed himself upon the country by the army and allayed opposition by the wisdom of his statesmanship; or whether he chiefly ruled by armed fanaticism. But it may be asserted without hesitation, that there is neither Englishman nor American, substantially acquainted with elections, whose judgment on this subject could be influenced in any degree, one way or the other, were he informed that Cromwell had received an overwhelming majority of votes all over England confirming him in his absolutism, after he had passed his famous ordinance of 1655, by which he divided the British territory into twelve districts, each presided over by a major-general with absolute power over the inhabitants, all existing laws to the contrary notwithstanding. There is not an American or Englishman, I think, who believes that such a confirmatory vote could have added to his right, or that, had such an event taken place, it could have kept Richard Cromwell on the protector's throne, or retarded the return of Charles the Second, a single day. And the larger the majority for Cromwell should have been, the more we would now consider it as a proof of the activity exerted by the major-generals, both in pressing and compressing, but no one of us would connect it in any way with a presumed popularity of Cromwell, or consider it as an index of the opinion which the people at large entertained of his repeated making and unmaking of parliaments.
A real or pretended result of such ex post facto votes may have a certain proclamatory value; it may be convenient to point to it and decline all farther discussion; “The People's Elect” may be a welcome formula for ribboned orators, expectant poets, or timeserving editors; but there is no intrinsic value in it. Votes of this sort have no meaning for the historian, at least so far as the subject voted on is concerned, and they have a melancholy meaning for the contemporary patriot. There seems to be a Nemesis eagerly watching these votes, and each time proving, by events succeeding shortly after, how hollow they were at the time.
An election,1 which takes place to pass judgment on a series of acts of a person, or to decide on the adoption or rejection of a fundamental law, can have no value whatever, if the following conditions are not fulfilled:
1. The question must have been fairly before the people for a period sufficiently long to discuss the matter thoroughly, and under circumstances to allow a free discussion. Neither the police restrictions of government, nor the riotous procedures of mobs, nor the tyranny of associations ought to prevent the formation of a well-sifted and duly modified average public opinion. The liberty of the press, therefore, is a conditio sine qua non. If this be not the case, a mere general opinion of the moment, a panic on the one hand, or a maddened gratitude, for real or imaginary benefits, of a multitude excited for the day or the period, may hastily and unrighteously settle the fate of generations to come, and passion, fear, or vain glory may decide that which ought to be settled by the largest and freest exchange of opinions and the broadest reciprocal modification of interests. It requires time for a great subject to present itself in all the aspects in which it ought to be viewed and examined, and for a great public opinion to form itself—the more time, the vaster the subject. All the laws regulating the formation of opinion in the individual apply with greater force to the formation of public opinion.
It is especially necessary that the army be in abeyance, as it were, with reference to all subjects and movements appertaining to the question at issue. The English law requires the removal of the garrison from every place where a common election for parliament is going on. Much more necessary is the total neutrality of the army in an election of the sort of which we now treat.
2. The election must be carried on by well-organized election institutions, extending over small districts, because in that case alone can a really general voting be secured.
3. All elections must be superintended by election judges and officers independent of the executive or any other organized or unorganized power of government. The indecency as well as the absurdity and immorality of government recommending what is to be voted ought never to be permitted.
4. The election returns ought to be made so that they are not subject to any falsification. They must not be fingered by the government officers. This is especially important if the country labors under a stringent centralism in which every civil officer avowedly acknowledges, and is, according to command, bound to acknowledge, no principle or law above the direct command of his immediate superior; in which the host of executive, administrative, police and semi-military officers form a compact body receiving its impulse of action exclusively from one centre; in which publicity is no pervading element of acts relating to the public interest; and in which no habits have yet been formed nor customs settled concerning the whole comprehensive election business.
5. He, or that power, which passes under judgment, ought to be in a position that, should the judgment turn against him, he can be believed to abide by the judgment. If not, the whole is nothing but a farce.
6. There must be really two things to choose between. If this is not the case, the whole procedure amounts to no more than what we familiarly call “Hobson's choice,” on a gigantic scale.
If there be any reader who should object to this rule that, since we speak of elections, it is evident that there must be two things at least to select from, and that therefore this rule borders on the ridiculous, I would only say that history shows people have not always adopted it. There may be something ridiculous somewhere, but it is not in the rule. It would be ridiculous to lay down the rule that, if people invite others to dinner, there ought to be something to eat, only so long as invitations to empty tables are assumed not actually to have taken place.
7. The power claiming the apparent judgment ought not to have committed a criminal act, and then, as the law expresses it, insist on deriving benefit from its own wrong. Nor ought he, who pretends to present himself for judgment, stand in the position of a trustee, disputing the validity of the power by which nevertheless he has acted, and under which he has accepted benefits. This is a common rule in all law, because it is common sense, and it is for the same reason a sound rule in politics.1
In addition to these rules, I may remind the reader of a fundamental truth concerning all elections and votes—a truth which is simply prescribed by common sense, and yet has often been set aside. A majority having voted for a subject is of no earthly value, unless the subject be of such a character that there can be, at the time, a public opinion about it. If there were, in a company of men, different opinions as to the time of the day, we cannot solve the difficulty by putting the question: “All who are in favor of its being now six o'clock will say Aye; those who are of the contrary opinion will say No.”2 No majority of ever so vast a country can decide for me the chloroform question, or whether Captain Ericsson's steam generator be or be not practical. And no majority, no matter how overwhelming, can be worth anything if there be not, in addition to a proper apparatus of evolving public opinion, of which we have spoken already, also one by which the true majority can be ascertained. It is an utter and constantly recurring error into which those that are unacquainted with the nature and the economy of liberty fall, to believe that what liberty requires is the ascertainment of incoherent votes on every question sprung upon society separately and incoherently. A French paper recently said that under certain circumstances the emperor Napoleon the Third would put the question of war to the universal suffrage of France. Of course I do not believe in the possibility of such an act, but I have mentioned the statement as an illustration. How can the French people at large decide on a question of war or peace, if France cannot debate the matter, cannot reflect on it? and what can a majority of votes on so grave a question mean, when the whole management of the vote, from first to last, is in the hands of that strongly concentrated government which puts the question?
I return to the seven requisites which I have pointed out.
If any one of these conditions be omitted, the whole election or voting is vitiated, and can in no way be depended upon. It will go with every experienced and truthful citizen, and pass with every serious historian, for nothing more than, possibly, for skilfully arranged deceptions of the unwary and very inexperienced. It is a question, indeed, whether these conditions can be frequently fulfilled, and whether it be possible in the nature of things to fulfil them at all, or any of them, in uninstitutional countries—in large countries enmeshed like a huge being by the close net-work of a bureaucratic mandarinism. They must, then, be resorted to as rarely as possible. In strictly organized police governments they have no value, except for the very purpose of deceiving, or of giving an apparently more firmly-based fulcrum for the lever of the power already existing.
Every one of my readers will agree with the necessity of the condition which has been stated as the first. There is the greatest difference between an accidental or momentary general opinion, and an organically-produced, well-settled public opinion—the same difference which exists between a “decree of acclamation,” as those decrees in the first French revolution were called, which were proposed and forthwith adopted by a burst of feeling or a clamor of passions, and an extensive law which has first been discussed and rediscussed, called for and assailed in papers, pamphlets, meetings, and institutions, and then, after long and patient debate, passed through the entire sifting and purposely retarding, repetitionary, and revisionary parliamentary process. Real public opinion on public matters of a truly free people under an institutional government is generally the wisest master to which the freeman can bow; general opinion is worth nothing as a political truth. It may be correct; it may be vicious, as a thousand rumors show, and public rumor is general opinion. This subject of public and merely general opinion has been largely discussed in the Political Ethics.
When Cromwell had dissolved parliament, and even dissolved the famous council of state, in spite of Bradshaw's opposition, we are informed that addresses of gratulation and thanks reached him from all parts of England, just as they were crowded upon L. N. Bonaparte after the second of December, 1851. We cannot judge whether they expressed the opinion of the majority; for in politics, as in common life, it is the noisy that are heard and make themselves observed, while the majority and more substantial people are silent and overlooked; but, for argument's sake, we will grant that those addresses to Cromwell expressed the opinions, the views, the feelings of the majority of the nation at the moment. Even in this case they expressed nothing more than the existing general feeling, not the public opinion of England, as successive events very soon proved.
To seize upon loud and demonstrative general opinion and feeling of a part of the people, while compressing the public opinion of the whole, is a frequent means of successful tyranny. It was the way the first French convention frequently managed things, and Danton knew it well. He acknowledged it.
As to the second and subsequent conditions which have been enumerated, the following observations may prove of interest. Numerous and extensive inquiries, referring to the United States as well as to Europe, and some of which I propose to give to the reader, have proved to me certain instructive facts relating to the statistics of popular elections. I do not treat in this paper of the voting in assemblies of trustees, of representatives or boards.
I must also remark that I shall always use the term election for direct elections, in which the voter votes directly upon the question at issue, and not for a person who will have the ultimate right of the direct vote; either for a person or on a measure. The election of our presidents was intended to be a double election, and in form it continues to be such; for we elect electors. But it is well known that the election has long since become virtually a direct one, so far as the individual votes express the desire of the voters, because the persons voted for as electors declare beforehand for whom they shall vote in case they are made electors, and after being elected electors they do not become members of a deliberative body in which the question of the presidential election is discussed.1
Where the double election is introduced as an active principle, it deprives elections of much, and often of all, interest, and is frequently resorted to for this very purpose, by governments which do not feel sufficiently strong to refuse the claims of the people to a share in the government, yet desire to defeat the reality of such a share.
The following, then, are the positions which experience seems fully to bear out:
The more exclusive the privilege of voting is, the smaller is the ratio of qualified voters who abstain from voting; and the largest number of abstinents occurs where universal suffrage is freely left to itself, and not interfered with by the executive.
The smaller the number of qualified voters, the smaller is also the ratio of abstinents.
So soon as the number of qualified voters exceeds five or six hundred, the number of abstinents will be at least twenty-five per centum.
The larger the number of qualified voters, voting upon the same question or persons, and under one and the same electoral system, the larger is also the ratio of abstinents.
The larger the area over which one and the same election or voting extends, the larger is the proportion of abstainers.
When there are three fairly supported candidates, the total number of votes polled is larger than when there are but two candidates, all other things being equal.
The whole number of polled votes, compared to the number of qualified voters, does not necessarily indicate the interest a community may take in a measure or person. Whenever people feel perfectly sure of the issue, there are many who abstain because their votes will not defeat the opponent; and many others abstain, because their candidate will be elected at any rate.
If the number of qualified voters (voting exactly upon the same question or person) exceeds several thousands, one-half of it is generally a fair number for the actual voters; two-thirds show an animated state of things, and three-fourths are evidence of great excitement. It will be observed that the words: Voting exactly upon the same question or person—are a necessary qualification of these positions. Although an election all over England may turn upon free trade or protection, yet, if it be a parliamentary election, so that these questions appear only represented in the respective candidates, it is clear that this would not be an election extending over the area of England, in the sense in which the term is taken here, or in which we take it when we speak of our presidential election.
Voting upon men generally draws out more votes than voting upon measures themselves.
Popular votes upon measures to be expressed by yes or no are wholly fallacious, unless this vote be the last act of a long and organic process; for instance, if a new constitution has been prepared by a variety of successive acts, and is ultimately laid before the people with the question, Will you, or will you not, have it?
Popular votes in a country with an ample bureaucracy of a centralized government, on questions concerning measures or persons in which the government takes a deep interest, and by elections the primary arrangements of which are under the direction of the government, that is, under the executive, must always be received with great suspicion. It is a fact well worthy of remembrance, that the French people have never voted no, when a question similar to that which was settled, as it is called, by the election of December, 1851, was placed before them. In the year 1793, in the years III., VIII., and XIII., similar appeals were made, and the answer was always yes, by majorities even greater, than that on which Louis Napoleon Bonaparte rests his absolutism. When a senatus consultum raised Napoleon the First to the imperial dignity, and the people were appealed to, there were in the city of Paris 70 noes and 120,947 ayes, and in all France 2500 noes against 3,572,329 ayes. A vote of yes or no becomes especially unmeaning when the executive seizes the power by a military conspiracy, and then pretends to ask the people whether they approve of the act or not.
From the best authorities on the Athenian government, for instance Boeckh's Political Economy of Athens, and Tittmann's Political Constitutions of Greece, under the head of Ostracism, we see that the common vote, polled by the Athenians, was about 5000 (Thucydides, viii. 72) out of from 20,000 to 25,000 qualified voters. Six thousand votes were considered the largest amount. They were required, therefore, for extraordinary cases, such as ostracism, or for anything that was against established law, or related to individuals only. Six thousand Athenian votes thus practically corresponded to our two-thirds of votes requisite for some peculiar cases purposely removed beyond the pale of a simple majority, that is at least one more than one-half of the voters. Here, then, we have one-fourth of qualified voters, usually voting, although the voting took place in one and the same city by voters the great majority of whom lived in the city.
Some writers have doubted whether six thousand votes upon the whole were necessary for ostracism and other peculiar cases, or six thousand votes in favor of the measure. I have no doubt that the first was the case. Plutarch distinctly says that one of the persons proposed was always ostracised, provided six thousand votes had been cast.1 (Aristides, i. 7.) The same passage seems to prove that if six thousand votes, altogether, had been cast, he who had the plurality of votes was banished; for there were frequently several persons proposed for ostracism, or citizens knew that they were prominent, and therefore liable to fall within the ostracophory, and tried to prove that they did not possess the feared influence. Ostracism was a purely political institution, resorted to by democratic absolutism to clip prominences and keep the hedge on a level. It was no punishment, and until Hyper-bolus, a low fellow, was ostracised, it added to the reputation of a citizen.
That there were many abstainers from voting in Athens, we know from the fact that on the one hand the lexiarchi sent their toxotæ before them to mark with red-powdered cords the white garments of those who tarried, so that the lexiarchi, six in number with thirty assistants, might deprive them of the tickets by means of which they could draw pay. In this, then, the Athenians resembled the early inhabitants of New England, who punished abstaining from voting or neglecting to send a written vote.1
On the other hand, we know that every Athenian of the age of twenty received at first one, then three oboli for attending a popular assembly. This reward was called ecclesiasticon.
Why there should have been at Athens so many more abstainers than generally in modern times, may be explained, probably, on the ground that many citizens were absent as soldiers, that many lived in the country, and that Athens was a direct, untempered democracy. Where, the democratic absolutism visibly appears every day in the market, people get tired of it. Besides, the reason which frequently induces so many of our best people to abstain from voting, the unwillingness to leave business, must have operated very strongly in Athens, when voting was so frequent and common. Let us imagine Boston or New York as an unmitigated democratic city-state, calling ten times a year for the meeting of the citizens; does any one believe that the most constant voters would come from the workshops and the ship-wharves rather than from the tippling-shops and filthy lanes of vice?
I have stated already that I have directed my inquiries to election statistics for many years, and over a very large space. The reader will admit that I can give a few instances only.
In the year 1834, there were in France no more than 171,015 electors; yet 129,211 only were polled at the different electoral colleges, that is only 75 out of 100 qualified voters availed themselves of their privilege. So there were in 1837 in the same country 198,836 qualified voters, and 151,720 votes were polled, which makes 76 of 100.
It will be remembered how small a number of citizens compared to the whole population were entitled to vote. The number of qualified voters at each electoral college was very restricted, and the voters formed a privileged class, compared to the other citizens.
The January number of the Edinburgh Review of 1852 contains a list of sixty-four English election districts, with the numbers of registered or qualified voters, and of the actually polled votes in each, at the last general election. The districts whose qualified voters amount to less than one thousand have been separated by me from those which possess more than one thousand. The average number of voters of the first class was 500, and 25 per centum on an average abstained from voting. The average number of qualified voters of the other class was between 2000 and 3000, and of them 42 per centum abstained. So that, if there be about 500 voters, only 75 in a hundred go to the poll; if there be about 2500, only 58 in a hundred do so.
This is the more striking if it be considered that one thousand entitled voters is after all a very small number compared to those to which we are accustomed, and that far the greater part of the elections given in the mentioned table are town elections, or elections with the most easily accessible polls.
After the chief part of this paper had been written, a very striking fact corroborated the results at which I had arrived. The Edinburgh Review for October, 1852, contains an article on Representative Reform, in which there is “A Table showing the Number of Counties and Boroughs in England, Wales, and Scotland, in which Contested Elections have taken place in the year 1852.” Where an election afterwards contested takes place, it will be allowed that generally there must be great excitement. All voters are brought up over whom the candidates or their agents have any influence. Yet it appears from this table “that the registered voters in all the contested places reached 507,192, while those who recorded their votes did not exceed 312,289, or about 60 per cent of the whole.” This is very remarkable; for out of 175 places or counties whose elections were contested, 46 only numbered 3000 qualified voters or more.
The whole election to which all these statistics refer was that between the adherents to the administration of Earl Derby, and those who considered it an incumbrance to the country. The contest was between Free Trade and Protection, and, I suppose, the English would plainly call it an excited election.
I pass over to instances not less striking, belonging to our own country.
According to detailed official documents, giving the number of qualified voters in every township in Massachusetts, and the number of votes actually polled during the election of the governor of that state in 1851, an election of unusual excitement, there were 182,542 persons entitled to vote, and 131,187 votes actually received. This gives less than three out of four qualified voters, or less than 75 in a hundred. If we consider that Massachusetts is no extensive country; that it is more densely peopled than France, having 127.40 inhabitants to the square mile, while France has only about 125; that the roads are good and numerous; that the people are well trained in the whole election business; and that, as it has been stated, the excitement was very great, it furnishes us with a striking piece of evidence that the electoral barometer will hardly ever rise above 75 in a hundred.1
There cannot be a more deeply interesting election than that which took place in the year 1851 in South Carolina, in which the palpable question was, shall or shall not the state secede from the Union? The political existence of the state formed the issue. On that occasion 42,755 votes were polled, which, taking one-fourth of the white population as the number of qualified voters, would show that about two-thirds only of those who had a right to vote actually did vote, or that 66 out of a hundred went to the poll.
Connecticut, a small and densely peopled state, sent, at the very excited election of 1852, about 75 or 76 out of each hundred voters to the poll. The calculation has been made from the official election returns, and taking one-fourth of the population as entitled to vote, which I have found to be the average number, where universal suffrage exists.
These instances might be greatly multiplied from statistical materials collected by me. I may only add the proportion of abstainers from our presidential elections since 1828. I have estimated the number of qualified voters by calculating, for the election year, the white population, according to the annual increments given by Mr. Kennedy, the first superintendent of the United States Census for 1850, and dividing that number by four.1 I have called the real voters in the table votants, and the qualified voters simply voters.1
It is necessary to take into consideration that in the whole south of the United States voting is a right of a privileged class, and that the proportion of abstainers is probably much smaller than it would be otherwise.
Against this calculation, however, so uniform in England, here, and in France in former times, we have the vote of seven millions and a half for Louis Bonaparte in 1852, when France was asked whether she approved of his breaking through oath and pledge, and of his proffered despotism, annihilating not only her constitution, which indeed was more than a frail one, but all the progress she had made in representative government, all her liberties, and all her civil dignity, and submitting her fortunes and all to a ruler who, never having been a soldier, tells civilized France that the history of armies is the history of nations, that responsible ministers are nothing but incumbrances, and that France desires a government which receives its whole impulse from one man.2
The statement which the government of the president of France officially published regarding the election which surrendered everything to the unchecked sway of the despot was thus:
Whatever may be thought of the suspiciously small number of noes, I do not believe that there is a man living who knows anything of elections, and who is ready to accept the given number of abstinents as a correct statement. According to the official number, between four and five persons only in one hundred abstained from voting, or were prevented by illness, absence from home, old age, and the like, from doing so—a number utterly incredible, and which, it must be believed, would have been allowed to appear much larger had the officials who managed the business been acquainted with the usual number of abstinents. The minister of state, Mr. Persigny, stated himself, in a circular letter to the prefects at a later period, that there were about eight millions of voters in France. This agrees pretty well with the common rule of taking about one-fourth of the whole population as the number of qualified voters where universal suffrage exists. There must then have been a great deal of manipulation within that number. This is further proved when we consider that, according to the official reports of the commissioners whom the chief of the French state sent into the departments to see who of the political prisoners might be pardoned, many thousands were actually in prison at the time of the general election. Colonel Espinasse reports that in the departments of the Lot and Garonne, and the Eastern Pyrenees, there were 30,000 affiliated socialists, and in the department of the Hérault 60,000. In three departments alone 90,000 disaffected persons. If they voted, they must have been forced by the police to vote for the coup d'état: if they did not vote, what becomes of the given number of abstinents? But there is another fact which shows the falsification of the statement, either by actually falsifying the numbers, or by forcing people to give the desired vote, or by both.
Algeria is not so directly under the influence of the police, nor could the statement concerning that colony be so easily falsified. Accordingly we have the following: Out of 68,000 voters (the army included) 50,000 abstained; 5735 voted for L. N. Bonaparte, and 6527 against him. Eighteen thousand only seem to have voted out of 68,000, not even 29 in 100.
I think this will sufficiently show how little reliance can be placed upon such a vote in a centralized country, and how futile it is to found any right or pretension upon it. Votes, without liberty of the press, have no meaning; votes, without liberty of the press, and with a vast standing army, itself possessing the right to vote, and considering itself above all law, have a sinister meaning; votes, without an unshackled press, with such an army, and with a compact body of officials, whose number, with those directly depending upon them, or upon government contracts, amounts to nearly a million, have no meaning, whether he who appeals to the people says that he leaves “the fate of France in the hands of the people,” or not.
This paper was written, with the exception which I have mentioned, after the vote on the coup d'état had been given. Since then, the plebiscitum, making Louis Napoleon emperor, has been added.
The vote of the people on the question: Shall, or shall not, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte assume the imperial crown? is officially stated to have been thus:
This number is thus distributed:
This shows a very different result from the vote on the coup d'état. It gives twenty-five abstinents in a hundred; but there are other points not easily understood. Of thirty-one persons, one only voted no. This is a state of harmony to which people of the Anglican race, with all their calmer temper, we venture to say, have never yet attained. It is equally inexplicable how, of a population which, in 1851, amounted to 35,781,628, there can be, in the year 1852, as many as 10,203,428 authorized to vote, or males above twenty-one years old. The fourth part of 35,781,628 is only 8,945,407; and, if a fourth part is correct, there would be 1,258,021 unaccounted for. Nor can we forget, here, the immense number of persons who, according to official reports, are at any given moment in the prisons of France. These, too, must be deducted.
I add, in conclusion, the statement of a Paris paper, which gives a different account, so far as that city is concerned.
In Paris, the number of abstinents were:
Only about one-half as many abstained from voting, when the empire was to be re-established, as abstained in the excited times of the republic, when there were several candidates.1
I do not believe that direct money-bribery exists in France to any great extent. Universal suffrage, it would seem, would preclude the possibility. But indirect bribery, by promises of promotion, or allowing shares in profitable undertakings, and, above all, intimidation, positive or indirect, I believe to have existed in the largest possible extent. We may certainly assume that every government officer, or person connected in some way with government, is worth his four or five votes at least—which he will direct as he in turn is directed to do by his superiors, or he loses his place.1 Then, we must take into account the influence of the priests in rural communities, or of the bishops in general. They openly exerted themselves, by word and letter, in favor of the present emperor. The influence of the prefects and sub-prefects on all occasions of election is uniform and perfectly well known, generally quite public, and the annoyance to which a man exposes himself by voting a ballot not agreeing with that which has been furnished by the government, is so great that no independence exists at French elections, except, in a limited degree, sometimes in Paris itself, on account of its dense and large population, although the influence of the court and government is there also the greatest on ordinary occasions.
[1.]There is no other term in our language, although it is obvious that these processes cannot be properly called elections. Votings would be more correct.
[1.]This has been well pointed out in the case of Louis Napoleon, by the Hon. A. P. Butler, United States senator for South Carolina.
[2.]In the time of the late French so-called republic, it occurred in the little commune Saint-André (department of Nord) that in a new church one of three altars remained without a patron saint. There were three candidates: St. Joseph, St. Roch, and St. Cecilia. The priest believed that the question had best be left to the people. All voted, even women and children of discretion. St. Cecilia carried the election by a majority of seventeen votes. The old Icelanders sometimes decided by vote whether Christ or the old gods should be worshipped.
[1.]This knowledge of the vote which an elector will give does of coarse not affect the result. Each elector represents a majority and a minority, but his vote can only be cast for one candidate. Nevertheless, that which is called the popular vote indicates a proportion between the presidential candidates very different from that which appears from the official votes of the electors. For instance, the popular vote at the last presidential election stood:
and the votes of the electors stood
So that the popular vote stood:
But the votes of the electors:
Such men as Benton, McDuffie, Calhoun, Huger, Pickens, of N. Carolina, have recorded their opinion in favor of giving the election of the president to the people.
[1.][Schömann, Gr. Alterth., i. 398, considers that 6000 was the number necessary to be cast against any one person, following in this the corrected Schol. on Aristoph. Eq. 852, (855.) Plutarch, not a first-rate authority, is a clear witness on the other side. He says that the archons counted the mass of votes, and if in all there were not 6000, declared that nothing had been done. This seems on the whole most probable. It is not clear that a plurality out of 6000 decided the ostracism of one who had been voted upon.]
[1.]See the Laws of New Plymouth, published by Authority, Boston, 1836, pp 41 and 128.
[1.]In Letter VIII. of Silas Steadfast (believed to have been George S. Hillard) en the proposed change of the constitution of Massachusetts, it is said: “In point of fact, no governor of Massachusetts was ever chosen by a majority of all the existing votes.“
which resembles closely the vote of 1851.
[1.]In dividing by four I reduce the number of qualified voters in the United States too much, as will appear from the following table, abstracted from the American Census of 1850, and kindly furnished me by Mr. De Bow, at present superintendent of the census:
This gives an average ratio of 3.784. But this table shows the proportion of white males of twenty years and upwards, while a person acquires the right of voting with his twenty-first year only. It will be, therefore, pretty correct, if I take one-fourth of the whole white population. In several states colored persons go to the polls. If they were counted, it would reduce the proportion of actual voters to the number of qualified voters; but I am willing to take one-fourth only.
[1.]I am aware that, apparently, Votare has not been used in Low Latin for voting. Du Cange says that Votum was used in the middle ages for suffrage, but Votare for Vovere, Spondere. As it is, however, no uncommon case in the English language to have a noun and an adjective which is not derived directly from the former but from an intermediate though “missing” verb, which would be derived from the noun, did it exist, I feel sure the reader will permit me to use the term Votant, in a language in which brevity is often considered to cover logical and etymological sins.
[2.]See the preamble to the constitution proclaimed by Louis Napoleon
[1.]On the 10th of December, 1848, when the first French president, for four years, was voted for:
France contained, in the year 1846, 35,400,486 inhabitants; consequently, in 1848 there were about 9,000,000 of authorized voters; and 7,327,345 having voted, about 80 in 100 went to the poll, according to this statement. Yet it must be supposed that the eagerness to go to the ballot-box was, in that year, much greater than after the coup d'état.
[1.]The reader cannot fail to remember here the constitution proposed by Mad. de Staël for France, after the Restoration, and which was to consist of two paragraphs only, namely, of one declaring all Frenchmen to be government officers, and of another, providing that every government officer should have a salary.