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shall be endorsed and deposited in the ballot box when it is finally sealed up in accordance with the provisions of this act.
If on any ballot, the voter has not made the voting mark, as required, or if he has not made the voting mark opposite the answer to any question submitted, or has made such mark opposite both the negative and affirmative answers to such questions, or for any reason it is impossible to determine the choice. of any voter for any office or his vote upon any question, his vote for such office or upon such questions shall be counted as a blank.
Any Commissioner may declare his belief that any particular ballot has been marked for identification and may object to any decision to count or not to count any vote. When a Commissioner shall, during the canvass of the votes or immediately after the completion thereof, declare his belief that any particular ballot has been written upon or marked in any way for the purpose of identification, the Commissioner shall write on the back of each ballot the word objected to because marked for identification, and sign their names thereto. Each such ballot shall be counted by them the same as if not so objected to. All such ballots shall be placed forthwith in a separate pile, and all such piles shall be enclosed in a securely sealed package, which shall be endorsed "ballots objected to because marked for identification," and with the signatures of the Commissioners, and such package shall be attached to their written statement of the result of the canvass. Every ballot which a voter has defaced or torn or which he has marked in any manner save as provided in Section 75, of this act, shall likewise be endorsed "objected to because marked for identification," and shall likewise be enclosed in the package so marked.
When any Commissioner shall object to any decision of the Commissioners to count any vote, the Commissioners shall immediately fold the ballot and write in ink upon the back thereof a number to identify the ballot, and the words "objected to by." They shall then endorse below such words a concise statement of the precise decision objected to. The Commissioners concurring in the decision shall thereupon sign their names to such statement, and the Commissioner objecting to the decision shall sign his name and address after the words "objected to by." All such ballots shall be placed forthwith in a separate pile, and shall be enclosed in a securely sealed package, which shall be endorsed "ballots objected to as incorrectly canvassed," and with the sig
natures of the Commissioners and each such packages shall be attached to their written statements of the results of the canvass.
Members of Legislature.
3020. [R. S. 1417.] In all contested elections for members of the General Assembly, each House shall have the power to determine which of the parties is entitled to the seat and to award it accordingly.
Parish, District and Municipal Officers.
3021. [R. S. 1419.] Any candidate for either of the offices of Clerk of the District Court, Parish Recorder, Sheriff, Coroner, Justice of the Peace and any other parish, district or municipal officer that may claim to have been elected by the people intending to contest an election shall, within thirty days after the official promulgation of the result of said election, file in the District Court for the parish or the district in which the election may have been held a petition setting forth the facts on which he intends to contest the election, and any candidate for either of the offices of Secretary of State, Auditor of Public Accounts, State Treasurer, Attorney General or Superintendent of Public Education, intending to contest an election, shall, within thirty days after the result of such election shall have been promulgated according to law, file in a court of competent jurisdiction in the parish in which the Capital of the State is situated, a petition setting forth the facts in which he intends to contest the election, within thirty days after the official promulgation of the result of the election. The party contesting shall present to the court, and which shall be filed a petition signed by at least twenty voters of the State, District, Parish, or in case of an election by a ward or other division of the parish or by a municipality, then the voters signing said petition shall be ten in number and be residents of the ward of the division of the parish or the municipality, for which the election has been held, praying the court to examine the facts and decide thereon. The signatures to such petition shall be presumed to be genuine until shown by proof to be otherwise. Suits instituted under the foregoing section contesting the election of a State and parish officer or of a municipal officer, shall be filed and tried in all respects
as ordinary suits; except that they shall be entitled to trial by preference. (Amd. Act 24, 1894, p. 27.)
Contested election cases shall be tried in all respects as ordinary suits, except by preference, Gauthier vs. Lapeyrouse, 122 La. 35.
The District Courts have power to try contests for municipal office, though that office be without emolument, State ex rel. Mouton vs. Judge, 49 A. 1535.
Unless the petition be signed by the requisite number of voters, the contest cannot be considered, Ducoté vs. Grémillion, 32 A. 540.
A suit brought before the promulgation of the returns is not premature, Knight vs. Ragan, 31 A. 289.
Right to office is involved only when there is a contest as to the title to an office, Denis vs. Mayor, 43 A. 96.
3022. [R. S. 1420.] Either party shall have a right to proceed to take evidence relative to the facts specified, or to be specified in the petition, at any time before the trial, on giving the other party one day's notice of the time when and the place where the evidence is to be taken, if such place be within ten miles of the residence of the party to whom the notice is given; two days, if within twenty-five miles; three days, if within forty miles, and four days if at any greater distance.
The judge may order the ballot boxes opened and their contents examined, before as well as after the filing of the contest suit, Gonsoulin vs. Decuir, 121 La. 611.
Special Term for Trying Contests.
3023. [R. S. 1425.] The trial of contested elections shall be proceeded with at any regular term of the court for the parish in which the contest is made. If no regular term of the court is to be held within five weeks from the time of filing the petition of the contestant, a special term shall be holden on the third Monday after the day on which the election for the office contested was held, if such term can be holden without interfering with a regular term elsewhere in the district; if not, then a special term shall be held for that purpose on the second Monday after the close of the term which would otherwise have been interfered with.
Issuance of Commission by Governor.
3024. [R. S. 1430.] On the successful candidate furnishing to the Governor a copy of the judgment of the court in his favor, duly certified by the clerk, dated after the last day of the term, the Governor shall immediately issue a commission to such
successful party, the certificate of the clerk showing either that the contest has been abandoned, or the right to prosecute is lost by non-compliance with the provisions of law, the Governor shall issue his commission in favor of the person in whose favor the certificate of election has been granted. In either case the Governor shall only issue the commission upon the party's complying with the other requirements of law.
The first paragraph (not printed here) of R. S. 1430 was in fact repealed by Sec. 25, Act 152, 1898, p. 272.
3025. [Sec. 1, Act 39, 1873, p. 78.] In any case in which a person claiming to have been appointed to the office of judge of any court in this State, and shall have been confirmed by the Senate and commissioned thereto, or shall have been elected, and, in pursuance of said election, shall have been commissioned, such commission shall be prima facie proof of the right of such person to immediately hold and exercise such office.
3026. [Sec. 2.] If any person, being an incumbent of such office, or any person pretending to hold or exercise a judicial office, shall refuse to vacate said office, or desist from exercising such judicial functions, and turn the same over to the person so commissioned, such person so commissioned shall have the right to proceed by rule before any court of competent jurisdiction to have himself declared to be entitled to such office, and to be inducted therein. Such rule shall be taken contradictorily with such incumbent or person pretending to hold or exercise judicial functions, and shall be made returnable within twentyfour hours if the defendant in said rule reside within ten miles of the court, with an additional twenty-four hours for every additional ten miles his said residence may be from the court issuing said rule. And the case shall be tried immediately and without jury, and by preference to all other matters or causes pending in said court, and the judgment thereon shall be signed the same day of its rendition; provided, that when any party may desire to take such rule or make application for removal of his case, as provided in section of this act; if the court may not be in session, the same may be granted at chambers, and it shall be the duty of the said court to try the same at chambers, or to open and hold a special term for the trial of any such rule.
The proceeding by rule has no application where judge has not been elected by people, or confirmed by Senate, though commissioned by Governor, State ex rel. Duffy vs. Goff, 135 La. 335.
When Local Judge Cannot Act.
3027. [Sec. 3.] In case of recusation, or inability from any cause whatever, the judge or judges of the parish, or district wherein the persons so contesting shall reside, shall be unable to act, then and in that case the plaintiff in said rule may take said rule before the judge of the adjoining parish or judicial district.
Under State ex rel. Thibaut vs. Judge, 48 A. 1074, the method of trial of recused cases provided for by this section is no longer applicable, but such cases must be governed by the general statutes on the subject of recusation passed since the adoption of the Constitution of 1879.
3028. [Sec. 4.] Either party to such rule may take an appeal from the judgment thereon, but such appeal shall be applied for within three judicial days from the rendition of the judgment on said rule, and shall be made returnable to the Supreme Court within five days, with an additional day for every ten miles the place of holding the court may be from the place where the Supreme Court is holding its session. The appeal shall be taken up by the Supreme Court, by preference over all other cases, immediately upon the application of either party, and the judgment thereon shall become final, after expiration of two legal days, whether judicial or not.
3029. [Sec. 5.] All laws or parts of laws conflicting with this act, and all laws on the same subject matter, are hereby repealed.
Plaintiff May Discontinue.
3030. [Act 40, 1873, p. 80.] Whenever any suit is pending in any of the courts of this State, wherein the title to any office is involved, or wherein there is any contest as to the possession of any office and the same is untried, it shall be lawful for the plaintiff, no matter what may be the nature of the pleadings, to discontinue such suit on payment of cost thereof.
3031. [R. S. 1434.] In all contested elections brought before the courts of this State, the party cast shall have the right