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Proceedings of the House, 1876
Volume 413, Page 1281   View pdf image (33K)
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1876.] OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES, 1281

their memorials, they had given the notice provided for by
the Code of Public General Laws, in cases of contested elec-
tions to be determined by this House, and had on December
23rd, 1875, commenced taking testimony in their districts.
This House having, with great unanimity, refused the ap-
plication of the memorialists for this Committee to sit in Bal-
timore and re-examine the witnesses already examined un-
der the provisions of the Code, or to examine other witnesses
whose testimony could as well be taken under said provi-
sions; the examination of proofs continued as it had been
commenced, and the evidence taken on the part of the me-
morialists, and of the sitting members, has been laid before
"the Committee. The questions of law and fact have been
argued by the counsel of the memorialists and of the sitting
members respectively, either orally, or by printed arguments.
The views presented, and all of the proofs submitted, have
been carefully considered, and we now submit our conclu-
sions therefrom.
We would be fully justified by legal decisions in recom-
mending the House to refuse the prayer of the memorials, on
rthe single ground, thnt the memorialists having laid no
rclaim to the seats occupied by the returned members, are
not entitled to be heard. Neither in the notices of con-
test served by them on the sitting members, nor in the
memorials, is it claimed that the memorialists were the
true choice of the legal voters of their respective dis-
tricts. It is nowhere asserted, that by a rejection from
the count of the ballots alleged to have been fraudulently re-
ceived, and a count of votes alleged to have been excluded
by intimidation or otherwise, the result in any or all of the
Legislative Districts would have been changed. Some of the
memorialists are lawyers, and all were represented by coun-
sel who could not have been ignorant of this fatal defect in
their case, as presented under the decisions cited in Gush-
ing's Legislative Assemblies, Sec. 1057. Manifestly, this
rule is founded on good and sufficient reasons. The mere
existence of fraudulent voting, or of acts of violence at an
election, does not require an investigation. In times of high
party excitement, riot and fraud in greater or less degree
occur in popular elections. It is only where they are of such
character and extent, and so universal, that the will of the
voters is frustrated, and representations are forced on the
actual majority by the wrong doing of a minority, that an
investigation is proper. Under the well established rules of
law governing such contests, the contestants are properly re-
quired to present a substantial case for decision. They most
allege and must prove, not only that the election of the re-
turned members was accompanied by wrong, whether fraud


 
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Proceedings of the House, 1876
Volume 413, Page 1281   View pdf image (33K)   << PREVIOUS  NEXT >>


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