The North Carolina Biennial Act, 1715

  • Act on Biennial & other Assemblies, & Regulating Elections & Members
    1. The Assembly of the colony of North Carolina wishes to enlarge the number of constituencies, as well as increase the frequency with which the assembly will meet.
    2. The precincts will be determined by the counties to meet biennially on the first Tuesday of September on alternating years.
    3. The freemen of each constituency will meet up at the agreed upon place & time established by the precinct’s marshal. If the Governor or Commander in Chief prefer some other arrangement to choose 2 freeholders from the precinct, then they will go to assembly & vote on the scheduled day.
    4. Burgesses elected from each precinct will meet the first Monday of November & every 2 years after, except if the Pallatines Court decides some other arrangement at least 20 days before the meeting day. The Crown via the Governor may dissolve or prorogue Assemblies freely.
    5. No inhabitant of the territory who was not born under allegiance to the king & not free will be able to vote for Assembly members or be admitted as Assembly members. He also must be at least 21 years old, served 1 year in the government & paid last year’s taxes.
    6. In voting, each voter will produce a list of members he wishes to represent him in Assembly. The Marshal or Poll Deputy will receive the list but will have the right to exclude members suspected of being ineligible. The Marshal, Deputy Marshal or other Officer will swear the elected members via an oath.
    7. Any Marshal or officer may negate the vote of any ineligible voter. The ineligible voter will be fined £20 for public use according to what the Governor deems appropriate.
    8. Any public officer whose job it is to make returns of Elections of Assembly Members will show up to the Assembly for the first 3 days of the session to inform the assembly of the matters & disputes of the elections. He will show the list of votes for the Assembly to examine & verify. The officer who doesn’t do this will be fined £20 to be used for public benefit determined by the Governor.
    9. If the elected member doesn’t show up to Assembly on the appointed day will be fined 20 s. for every day he’s not in Assembly.
    10. No elected member will be allowed to sit in Assembly without having taking the Oath of Allegiance, among other oaths.
    11. A Quorum of voting will not be less than half of the number of members of the Assembly. No bills will be signed unless 8 members are present.

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