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§ 87. “The Houses of Parliament of the State.”

If a vacancy arises in the representation of any State in the Senate, the Houses of Parliament of the State, being in session at the time when the vacancy is notified, are enjoined to choose a person to hold the place provisionally, that is to say until (1) the expiration of the constitutional term or (2) the election of a successor at the next triennial election of senators or at the next election of representatives, whichever event


  ― 436 ―
first happens. The vacancies contemplated by this section are casual or extraordinary vacancies, arising from accidents, such as death, disqualification or resignation, and not those vacancies which take place at the regular expiration of senatorial terms. In thus choosing persons, to provisionally fill vacant places, the members of the Houses of Parliament of the State must sit and vote together—that is to say, the choice is made at a joint sitting of the Chambers, at which the vote of a majority prevails.

Under the Constitution of the United States of America (Art. I. sec. 3) which provides that the Senate “shall be composed of two senators from each State chosen by the legislature thereof,” it has been decided that the two Houses of the State Legislature might, by joint resolution adopted by both of them, without the consent of the State Governor, provide for the manner in which a senatorial election should take place; that the State Constitution could not limit the power of the legislature in that respect The practice was adopted in several States of electing senators in joint convention of the two legislative Houses, in case the Houses acting separately had failed to make a choice. (Foster's Comm. I. p. 473.)

In 1866 an Act of Congress was passed for the regulation of senatorial elections. It provides that, if the two Houses of a State legislature are unable to agree in the choice of a senator, a joint assembly of the two Houses shall be held, and the person who receives a majority of all the votes of the joint assembly, a majority of all the members elected to both Houses being present and voting, shall be declared duly elected. Under this statute it has been held that an election is valid when made in a joint convention by a majority of the members of both Houses, in the absence of a quorum of one of them. (Foster's Comm. I. p. 475.)

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