McRobbie v. Registrars of Voters of Ipswich

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtLUMMUS
Citation322 Mass. 530,78 N.E.2d 498
Decision Date31 March 1948
PartiesMcROBBIE v. REGISTRARS OF VOTERS OF IPSWICH. SAME v. REGISTRARS OF VOTERS OF IPSWICH et al.

322 Mass. 530
78 N.E.2d 498

McROBBIE
v.
REGISTRARS OF VOTERS OF IPSWICH.

SAME
v.
REGISTRARS OF VOTERS OF IPSWICH et al.

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Essex.

March 31, 1948.


Report from Superior Court, Essex County; Forte, Judge.

Mandamus by Stuart McRobbie against the Registrars of Voters of Ipswich and another to contest the election of one Wallace as a selectman, consolidated with a bill in equity by the same petitioner against the same respondents for the same cause. The cause was reported by the judge without decision under G.L.(Ter.Ed.) c. 214, § 30; c. 231, § 111, to the Supreme Judicial Court.

Final decree for petitioner.

[78 N.E.2d 499]

Before QUA, C. J., and LUMMUS, RONAN, WILKINS, and WILLIAMS, JJ.

F. H. Magison, of Haverhill, for plaintiff.


W. F. Hayes, Town Counsel, of Ipswich, for respondents.

LUMMUS, Justice.

The question in this case is whether one Wallace, or the petitioner McRobbie, was elected a selectman of Ipswich at an election held on March 10, 1947. That question depends upon the effect of certain ballots sent to the town clerk by mail by voters who were not present at the polls to cast their ballots in person. Wallace was declared elected, and the petitioner McRobbie contests the election.

This proceeding began as a petition for a writ of mandamus. Later the petitioner brought a bill in equity for the same cause, and this by decree of the Superior Court was, without objection, ‘consolidated with and fused in said proceeding at law.’ Lumiansky v. Tessier, 213 Mass. 182, 189, 99 N.E. 1051, Ann.Cas.1913E, 1049;Katauskas v. Lonstein, 266 Mass. 29, 32, 33, 164 N.E. 810. In O'Brien v. Election Commissioners of Boston, 257 Mass. 332, 153 N.E. 553, and Hall v. Barton, 290 Mass. 476, 195 N.E. 753, mandamus was employed to determine an election contest over the validity of ballots. By G.L.(Ter.Ed.) c. 54, § 103, a bill in equity may be employed to enjoin the counting of any ballot ‘which was not case in accordance’ with sections 86 to 102 of said chapter, which relate to voting by absent voters.

Amendment 76 to the Constitution of Massachusetts, adopted in 1944, provides that ‘The general court shall have power to provide by law for voting, in the choice of any officer to be elected or upon any question submitted at an election, by qualified voters of the commonwealth who, at the time of such an election, are absent from the city or town of which they are inhabitants or are unable by reason of physical disability to cast their in person at the polling places.’ The laws governing voting by absent or disabled voters were made applicable to town elections by G.L.(Ter.Ed.) c. 54, § 103A, as appearing in St.1937, c. 77, § 1, as most recently amended by St.1946, c. 118. It is not disputed that those laws were applicable to town elections in Ipswich. Those laws are found in G.L.(Ter.Ed.) c. 54, §§ 86-103A, as amended. By section 92, as appearing in St.1945, c. 466, § 4, a voter who has received an official ballot and is not to be personally present at the polls ‘shall mark said ballot in the presence of an official authorized by law to administer oaths,’ and, after enclosing the ballot in an envelope for mailing to the town clerk, shall ‘execute before said official the necessary affidavit on said envelope,’ showing his right to cast such a ballot. It is provided by that section that ‘Any ballot which was applied for by a voter because he would be unable by reason of physical disability to cast his vote in person at the polling place at an election shall be defective if the official in whose presence it was marked and before whom the affidavit required was executed is a candidate for office at such election.’ By section 95, as appearing in St.1936, c. 404, § 6, as amended by St.1945, c. 466, § 5, an envelope which bears ‘an affidavit executed in violation of section ninety-two before an official who is a candidate for election at the election,’ is not to be opened so as to reveal the ballot but is to be marked ‘Rejected as defective.’ Evidently the law contemplates that an unlawful affidavit before a candidate shall prevent the counting of the ballot contained in the envelope upon which the unlawful affidavit appears.

The seme person was appointed auditor and master in the case as consolidated, and filed a single report as such,

[78 N.E.2d 500]

which was confirmed, and the judge found...

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7 practice notes
  • McCavitt v. Registrars of Voters of Brockton
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • April 21, 1982
    ...See Citizens for a Referendum Vote v. Worcester, 375 Mass. 218, 219, 375 N.E.2d 721 (1978); McRobbie v. Registrars of Voters of Ipswich, 322 Mass. 530, 533, 78 N.E.2d 498 (1948). See also Jardon v. Meadowbrook-Fairview Metropolitan Dist., 190 Colo. 528, 549 P.2d 762 (1976); Stinson v. Manni......
  • Kiehne v. Atwood, No. 12478
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court of New Mexico
    • December 5, 1979
    ...Cal.Rptr. 682 (1966); [93 N.M. 662] Page 128 Sims v. Atwell, 556 S.W.2d 929 (Ky.App.1977); McRobbie v. Registrars of Voters of Ipswich, 322 Mass. 530, 78 N.E.2d 498 (1948); Belcher v. Mayor of City of Ann Arbor, 79 Mich.App. 387, 261 N.W.2d 56 (Ct.App.1977); Wehrung v. Ideal School District......
  • D'AURIZIO v. Borough of Palisades Park, Civ. A. No. 93-4417 (NHP).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • September 29, 1995
    ...v. Levens, 237 Kan. 614, 702 P.2d 320, 325 (1985); Wood v. Kirby, 566 S.W.2d 751, 753 (Ky.Sup.Ct.1978); McRobbie v. Registrars of Voters, 322 Mass. 530, 78 N.E.2d 498, 500 (1948); Belcher v. 899 F. Supp. 1358 Mayor, 402 Mich. 132, 262 N.W.2d 1, 2 (1978) (per curiam); Hubbard v. McKey, 193 S......
  • Helm v. State Election Bd., No. 53014
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • January 3, 1979
    ...for whom he voted." Accord: Wehrung v. Ideal School Dist. No. 10, N.D., 78 N.W.2d 68 (1956); McRobbie v. Registrars of Voters of Ipswich, 322 Mass. 530, 78 N.E.2d 498; Handy v. Holman, Tex.Civ.App., 281 S.W.2d 356; Ex parte Henry, 132 Tex. 575, 126 S.W.2d 1, followed in Ex parte O'Brien, 13......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • McCavitt v. Registrars of Voters of Brockton
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • April 21, 1982
    ...See Citizens for a Referendum Vote v. Worcester, 375 Mass. 218, 219, 375 N.E.2d 721 (1978); McRobbie v. Registrars of Voters of Ipswich, 322 Mass. 530, 533, 78 N.E.2d 498 (1948). See also Jardon v. Meadowbrook-Fairview Metropolitan Dist., 190 Colo. 528, 549 P.2d 762 (1976); Stinson v. Manni......
  • Kiehne v. Atwood, No. 12478
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court of New Mexico
    • December 5, 1979
    ...Cal.Rptr. 682 (1966); [93 N.M. 662] Page 128 Sims v. Atwell, 556 S.W.2d 929 (Ky.App.1977); McRobbie v. Registrars of Voters of Ipswich, 322 Mass. 530, 78 N.E.2d 498 (1948); Belcher v. Mayor of City of Ann Arbor, 79 Mich.App. 387, 261 N.W.2d 56 (Ct.App.1977); Wehrung v. Ideal School District......
  • D'AURIZIO v. Borough of Palisades Park, Civ. A. No. 93-4417 (NHP).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • September 29, 1995
    ...v. Levens, 237 Kan. 614, 702 P.2d 320, 325 (1985); Wood v. Kirby, 566 S.W.2d 751, 753 (Ky.Sup.Ct.1978); McRobbie v. Registrars of Voters, 322 Mass. 530, 78 N.E.2d 498, 500 (1948); Belcher v. 899 F. Supp. 1358 Mayor, 402 Mich. 132, 262 N.W.2d 1, 2 (1978) (per curiam); Hubbard v. McKey, 193 S......
  • Helm v. State Election Bd., No. 53014
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • January 3, 1979
    ...for whom he voted." Accord: Wehrung v. Ideal School Dist. No. 10, N.D., 78 N.W.2d 68 (1956); McRobbie v. Registrars of Voters of Ipswich, 322 Mass. 530, 78 N.E.2d 498; Handy v. Holman, Tex.Civ.App., 281 S.W.2d 356; Ex parte Henry, 132 Tex. 575, 126 S.W.2d 1, followed in Ex parte O'Brien, 13......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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