Richardson v. Young

Decision Date26 February 1910
Citation125 S.W. 664
PartiesRICHARDSON et al. v. YOUNG et al.
CourtTennessee Supreme Court

J. C. Bradford, J. J. Vertrees, W. O. Vertrees, and D. B. Puryear, for appellants. Attorney General Cates, Pitts & McConnico, Luke Lea, J. N. Fisher, and O. K. Holladay, for appellees.

SHIELDS, J.

E. R. Richardson, N. G. Robertson, and F. A. Raht, claiming to be the members of the State Board of Elections created by the General Assembly by chapter 435, Acts 1907, and as citizens and taxpayers, bring this bill against S. M. Young, I. B. Tigrett, and James Maynard, who also claim to be members of the State Board of Elections by election and appointment under the provisions of chapter 103, Acts 1909, an act amending chapter 435, Acts 1907, for the purpose of asserting their title to the offices of members of the State Board of Elections, and their right to exercise the powers and duties, and receive and enjoy the emoluments, of the offices, and to enjoin the defendants from interfering with and obstructing them therein, and drawing from the Treasurer of the state the salaries and expenses allowed the board, upon the ground that the latter act (chapter 103, Acts of 1909) is unconstitutional and void, or, if mistaken in this, that the defendants were never lawfully elected or appointed, and therefore complainants are entitled to hold the offices until their successors are elected or appointed.

The act of the General Assembly creating the first State Board of Elections was passed April 9, 1907.

Section 1 of this act provides that there shall be appointed by the Governor, and confirmed by the Senate, a board of three persons, to be known as the "State Board of Elections," which shall have and exercise all powers now conferred upon the Governor to appoint commissioners of elections and registration.

Section 2 provides that not more than two of the three members of the board "shall be of the same political party, and that both the representatives of the majority and minority parties shall be bona fide members of the party they are appointed to represent," and that two members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

Section 3 prescribes the time of the appointments of the members of the board.

Section 4 provides that the members of the board first appointed shall hold office until the first Monday in March, 1909, and thereafter their successors for two years, and until their successors are appointed; all vacancies to be filled as in the first instance, except when occurring while the Legislature is not in session, and then by the Governor, to hold until the convening of the Legislature.

Section 5 fixes the compensation of the members of the board, prescribes the oath they shall take, and requires them to qualify within 10 days after appointment.

Sections 6 and 7 provide for the expenses of the board, and meetings to be held by them for the transaction of business.

Section 8 is in these words: "Be it further enacted, that said State Board of Elections shall select and appoint on the second Monday in May, 1907, or as soon thereafter as practicable, and on the second Monday in May every two years thereafter, three commissioners of election for each county in the state; Provided, that no more than two of said commissioners shall be of the same political party; and, provided further, that the State Board of Elections shall have the power to remove any commissioners of elections for cause or failure to perform their duties; and said State Board of Elections shall likewise fill by appointment all vacancies occurring in the county board of commissioners of election."

Sections 9 and 10 require the Board of Elections to issue commissions to the county commissioners of election and to keep certain records of their proceedings.

Section 11 repeals all laws in conflict with the act.

Complainants were duly appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, and were exercising the powers and discharging the duties of the State Board of Elections, when an amendatory act was enacted, and the defendants appointed thereunder.

The amendatory act (chapter 103, Acts 1909) was passed February 12, 1909, and is entitled:

"An act to amend an act entitled, `An act to create a State Board of Elections, to provide for the manner of their appointment, their terms of office, their compensation, and to define their duties and powers,' passed April 9, 1907, and being Chap. 435 of the printed Acts of 1907."

Section 1 of this act amends section 1 of the original act, so that it shall read: "That there shall be elected by the joint vote of both houses of the General Assembly a board of three persons to be known as `the State Board of Elections,' which shall have and exercise all the powers conferred upon said board by the Acts of 1907, chap. 435, entitled as set out in the caption hereof."

Section 2 amends section 3 of the original act, so as to provide:

"That the members of the first State Board of Elections shall be elected prior to the first Monday of April, 1909, upon a day to be fixed by joint resolution of the General Assembly, and thereafter during each biennial session of the General Assembly one member of such board shall be elected on such date prior to the first Monday of April as may be fixed by joint resolution of both houses of the General Assembly."

Section 3 amends section 4 of the original act, so as to provide:

"That the term of the office of the members of the State Board of Elections first elected as hereinbefore provided shall be for two (2), four (4) and six (6) years, respectively, from the first day of April, 1909. The terms of each member of the first board shall be fixed when he is elected by the joint vote of the General Assembly, as hereinbefore provided, and thereafter the term of the member elected at each recurring biennial session of the General Assembly shall be for six (6) years from the first Monday of April succeeding his election. All members of said State Board of Elections shall continue in office until their successors are elected and qualified, and all elections of successors to the first board, or to fill vacancies in that or any subsequent board, shall be bona fide members of the same party to which the member whose successor is to be elected or the member causing the vacancy belonged. All vacancies shall be filled as in the first instance by joint vote of the General Assembly, except vacancies occurring when the General Assembly is not in session when if the office of only one member is vacant, an appointment to fill such vacancy shall be made by the remaining members of the board within thirty (30) days after the vacancy occurs; and, provided, further, that in the event the remaining commissioners fail to fill the appointment within the time mentioned, the same shall be filled by the Secretary of State, Comptroller, and Treasurer, or a majority from the same party in which the vacancy occurred, to hold until the convening of the General Assembly; but if there be more than one vacancy on said board, the same shall be filled by appointment of the Secretary of State, Comptroller, and Treasurer, or a majority of those officers."

Section 4 amends section 8 of the original act, so as to provide:

"That said State Board of Elections shall elect and appoint on the second Monday in May, 1909, or as soon thereafter as practicable, and on the second Monday in May every two years thereafter, three (3) commissioners of elections from each county of the state; provided, that not more than two of said commissioners shall be of the same political party, and that the representatives of the majority and minority parties shall be bona fide members of the party they are appointed to represent, and any two members of said board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business; that each member of the State Board of Elections herein provided for shall have the right and power to designate and appoint without the consent of his associates, one of said commissioners of elections in said county; and, provided, further, that said State Board of Elections shall have full power to remove any commissioner of elections for cause or failure to perform his duties, and the vacancy thereby caused shall be filled by that member of the State Board of Elections who in the first instance appointed the commissioner so removed.

"By minority party is meant the party polling in the state of Tennessee the second highest number of votes for presidential electors at any presidential election immediately preceding the appointment of officers under the act."

Section 5 provides that the act shall take effect from and after its passage, the public welfare requiring it.

The defendants, Young, Tigrett, and Maynard, were elected members of the State Board of Elections by the members of the General Assembly in joint convention, and, after this suit was brought, were appointed by the Secretary of State, Comptroller, and Treasurer, that all questions arising under this act might be settled herein, but the legality of their election and appointment is challenged for causes which will be hereafter stated, and were, when this bill was filed, exercising the powers and duties of the State Board of Elections, as defined in the original and amendatory acts.

The General Assembly had two separate and distinct purposes in view in enacting the amendatory act.

The first of these was to change the manner of choosing the members of the State Board of Elections, and the second, to more effectually secure to the minority party bona fide representation in the appointment of election officers in this state.

These purposes were sought to be effected by amending different sections of the original act, and the...

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  • Sibert v. Garrett
    • United States
    • Kentucky Court of Appeals
    • December 15, 1922
    ...Supreme Court of that state had the following to say in a very able opinion delivered by Judge Shields in the case of Richardson v. Young, 122 Tenn. 471, 125 S.W. 664: may have been its nature theoretically, in practical application in this country, this power has not been considered as bel......
  • State v. Daniel
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    ...restrictive or absolute, within organic limitations. See 12 C.J. 898, § 402; Ingard v. Baker, 27 Idaho, 124, 147 P. 293; Richardson v. Young, 122 Tenn. 471, 125 S.W. 664; Little v. Willimon, 103 S.C. 50, 87 S.E. 435. the Constitution in express terms confers upon the Governor the power to a......
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    ... ... limitations. See 12 C.J. 898, § 402; Ingard v ... Barker, 27 Idaho, 124, 147 P. 293; Richardson v ... Young, 122 Tenn. 471, 125 S.W. 664; Little v ... Willimon, 103 S.C. 50, 87 S.E. 435. But where the ... Constitution in express terms ... ...
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