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CONSTITUTION OF GEORGIA-1877.*
To perpetuate the principles of free government, insure justice to all, preserve peace, promote the interest and happiness of the citizens, and transmit to posterity the enjoyment of liberty, we, the people of Georgia, relying upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution:
BILL OF RIGHTS.
PARAGRAPH I. All government, of right, originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole. Public officers are the trustees and servants of the people and at all times amenable to them.
PAR. II. Protection to person and property is the paramount duty of government, and shall be impartial and complete.
PAR. III. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, except by due process of law.
PAR. IV. No person shall be deprived of the right to prosecute or defend his own cause in any of the courts of this State, in person, by attorney, or both.
PAR. V. Every person charged with an offense against the laws of this State shall have the privilege and benefit of counsel; shall be furnished, on demand, with a copy of the accusation, and a list of the witnesses on whose testimony the charge against him is founded; shall have compulsory process to obtain the testimony of his own witnesses; shall be confronted with the witnesses testifying against him, and shall have a public and speedy trial by an impartial jury.
PAB. VI. No person shall be compelled to give testimony tending in any manner to criminate himself.
PAR. VII. Neither banishment beyond the limits of the State, nor whipping, as a punishment for crime, shall be allowed.
PAR. VIII No person shall be put in jeopardy of life, or liberty, more than once for the same offense, save on his or her own motion for a new trial after conviction, or in case of mistrial.
PAR. IX. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed. nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted; nor shall any person be abused in being arrested, while under arrest, or in prison.
PAR. X. No person shall be compelled to pay costs, except after conviction on final trial.
PAR. XI. The writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.
PAR. XII. All men have the natural and inalienable right to worship God, each according to the dictates of his own conscience, and no human authority should in any case control or interfere with such right of conscience.
*The constitution of Georgia was drafted by a convention which assembled at Atlanta on July 11 and adjourned on August 25, 1877. The constitution was submitted to the electors on December 5, 1877. The voters were required to vote on the question of ratifying, or rejecting the constitution as a whole; on the question of locating the capitol of the state at Atlanta or Milledgeville; and on the homestead and exemption plan of 1868 or of 1877. The constitution as a whole was ratified by a vote of 110,442 to 40,947; the vote cast for the location of the capitol was, for Atlanta, 99,147, and for Milledgeville, 55,201; the vote cast for the adoption of the homestead of 1877 was 94,722, and for the homestead of 1868 was 52,000. By authority of the constitution, the governor issued his proclamation declaring the constitution in force on December 21, 1877.
PAR. XIII. No inhabitant of this State shall be molested in person or property, or prohibited from holding any public office or trust, on account of his religious opinions; but the right of liberty of conscience shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the State.
PAR. XIV. No money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect, or denomination of religionists, or of any sectarian institution.
PAR. XV. No law shall ever be passed to curtail or restrain the liberty of speech, or of the press; any person may speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.
PAR. XVI. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause, supported by oath, or affirmation, particularly describing the place or places to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
PAR. XVII. There shall be within the State of Georgia neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, save as a punishment for crime after legal conviction thereof.
PAR. XVIII. The social status of the citizen shall never be the subject of legislation.
PAR. XIX. The civil authority shall be superior to the military; and no soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, except by the civil magistrate, in such manner as may be provided by law.
PAR. XX. The power of the courts to punish for contempts shall be limited by legislative acts.
PAR. XXI. There shall be no imprisonment for debt.
PAR. XXII. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne.
PAB. XXIII. The legislative, judicial, and executive powers shall forever remain separate and distinct, and no person discharging the duties of one shall at the same time exercise the functions of either of the others, except as herein provided.
PAR. XXIV. The people have the right to assemble peaceably for their common good, and to apply to those vested with the powers of government for redress of grievances, by petition or remonstrance.
PAR. XXV. All citizens of the United States, resident in this State. are hereby declared citizens of this State; and it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to enact such laws, as will protect them in the full enjoyment of the rights, privileges, and immunities due to such citizenship.
PARAGRAPH I. In all prosecutions or indictments for libel, the truth may be given in evidence; and the jury in all criminal cases shall be the judges of the law and the facts. The power of the judges to grant new trials in case of conviction is preserved.
PAR. II. Treason against the State of Georgia shall consist in levying war against her, adhering to her enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason, except on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or confession in open court.
PAR. III. No conviction shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture of estate.
PAR. IV. All lotteries, and the sale of lottery tickets, are hereby prohibited; and this prohibition shall be enforced by penal laws.
PAR. V. Lobbying is declared to be a crime, and the General Assembly shall enforce this provision by suitable penalties.
PAR. VI. The General Assembly shall have the power to provide for the punishment of fraud; and shall provide, by law, for reaching property of the debtor, concealed from the creditor.
PARAGRAPH I. In cases of necessity, private ways may be granted upon just compensation being first paid by the applicant. Private property shall not be taken, or damaged, for public purposes, without just and adequate compensation being first paid.
PAR. II. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, retroactive law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or making irrevocable grants of special privileges or immunities, shall be passed.
PAR. III. No grant of special privileges or immunities shall be revoked. except in such manner as to work no injustice to the corporators or creditors of the incorporation,
PARAGRAPH I. Laws of a general nature shall have uniform operation throughout the State, and no special law shall be enacted in any case for which provision has been made by an existing general law. No general law affecting private rights shall be varied in any particular case by special legis lation, except with the free consent, in writing, of all persons to be affected thereby; and no person under legal disability to contract is capable of such consent,
PARAGRAPH I. The people of this State have the inherent. sole, and exclusive right of regulating their internal government, and the police thereof, and of altering and abolishing their Constitution whenever it may be neces sary to their safety and happiness.
PAR. II. The enumeration of rights herein contained as a part of this ·Constitution shall not be construed to deny to the people any inherent rights which they may have hitherto enjoyed.
PAR. II. Legislative acts in violation of this Constitution, or the Constitution of the United States, are void, and the judiciary shall so declare them.
PARAGRAPH I. After the year 1908, elections by the people shall be by ballot, and only those persons shall be allowed to vote who have been first registered in accordance with the requirements of law.1
PAR. II. · Every 'male citizen of this State who is a citizen of the United States, twenty-one years old or upwards, not laboring under any of the disabilities named in this Article, and possessing the qualifications provided by it. shall be an elector and entitled to register and vote at any election by the people Provided, that no soldier, sailor, or marine in the military or naval services of the United States shall acquire the rights of an elector by reason of being stationed on duty in this State.
PAR. III. To entitle a person to register and vote at any election by the people, he, shall have resided in the State one year next preceding the election, and in the county in which he offers to vote six months next preeeding the election, and shall have paid all taxes which may have been required of him since the adoption of the Constitution of Georgia of 1877, that he may have had an opportunity of paying agreeably to law. Such payment must have been made at least six months prior to the election at which he offers to vote, except when such elections, are held within six months from the expiration of the time fixed by law for the payment of such taxes.
PAR. IV, Every male citizen of this State shall be entitled to register as an elector, and to vote in all elections in said State, who is not disqualified under the provisions of Section 2 of Article 2 of this Constitution, and who
1Amendment proposed by the general assembly of 1908 and ratified on Oct. 7.
possesses the qualifications prescribed in paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Section or who will possess them at the date of the election occurring next after his registration, and who in addition thereto comes within either of the classes provided for in the five following subdivisions of this paragraph.
1. All persons who have honorably served in the land or naval forces of the United States in the Revolutionary War, or in the War of 1812, or in the War with Mexico, or in any War with the Indians, or in the War between the States, or in the War with Spain, or who honorably served in the land or naval forces of the Confederate States or of the State of Georgia in the War between the States; or
2. All persons lawfully descended from those embraced in the classes enumerated in the subdivision next above, or.
3. All persons who are of good character and understand the duties and obligations of citizenship under a republican form of government; or,
4. All persons who can correctly read in the English language any paragraph of the Constitution of the United States or of this State and correctly write the same in the English language when read to them by any one of the registrars, and all persons who solely because of physical disability are unable to comply with the above requirements but who can understand and give a reasonable interpretation of any paragraph of the Constitution of the United States or of this State, that may be read to them by any one of the registrars:
5. Any person who is the owner in good faith in his own right of at least forty acres of land situated in this State, upon which he resides, or is the owner in good faith in his own right of property situated in this State and assessed for taxation at the value of $500,00.
PAR. V. The right to register under subdivisions 1 and 2 of paragraph 4 shall continue only until January 1st, 1915. But the registrars shall prepare a roster of all persons who register under subdivisions 1 and 2 of paragraph 4, and shall return the same to the clerk's office of the superior court of their counties, and the clerks of the superior court shall send copies of the same to the Secretary of State, and it shall be the duty of these officers to record and permanently preserve these rosters. Any person who has been once registered under either of the subdivisions 1 or 2 of paragraph 4 shall thereafter be permitted to vote: Provided, he meets the requirements of paragraphs 2 and 3 of this section.
PAR. VI. Any person to whom the right of registration is denied by the registrars upon the ground that he lacks the qualifications set forth in the five subdivisions of paragraph 4 shall have the right to take an appeal, and any citizen may enter an appeal from the decision of the registrars allowing any person to register under said subdivisions. All appeals must be filed in writing with the registrars within ten days from the date of the decision complained of, and shall be returned by the registrars to the office of the clerk of the superior court to be tried as other appeals.
PAR. VII. Pending an appeal and until the final decision of the case. the judgment of the registrars shall remain in full force.
PAR. VIII. No person shall be allowed to participate in a primary of any political party or a convention of any political party in this State who is not a qualified voter.
PAR. IX. The machinery provided by law for the registration, of force October 1st, 1908, shall be used to carry out the provisions of this Section, except where inconsistent with same; the legislature may change or amend the registration laws from time to time, but no such change or amendment shall operate to defeat any of the provisions of this section.
PARAGRAPH I. The General Assembly may provide, from time to time, for the registration of all electors, but the following classes of persons shall not be permitted to register, vote, or hold any office, or appointment of honor or trust in this State, to-wit: (1st) Those who shall have been convicted,
in any court of competent jurisdiction. of treason against the State, of embezzlement of public funds, malfeasance in office, bribery, or larceny, or of any crime involving moral turpitude, punishable by the laws of this State with imprisonment in the penitentiary, unless such person shall have been pardoned; (2d) idiots and insane persons,
PARAGRAPH I. Electors shall, in all cases except for treason, felony, larceny, and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance on elections, and in going to and returning from the same.
PARAGRAPH I. No person who is the holder of any public money, contrary to law, shall be eligible to any office in this State until the same is accounted for and paid into the treasury.
PAR. II. No person who, after the adoption of this Constitution, being a resident of this State, shall have been convicted of fighting a duel in this State, or convicted of sending or accepting a challenge, or convicted of aiding or abetting such duel, shall hold office in this State, unless he shall have been pardoned; and every such person shall also be subject to such punishment as may be subscribed by law.
PARAGRAPH I. The General Assembly shall, by law, forbid the sale, distribution or furnishing of intoxicating drinks within two miles of election precincts on days of election-State, county, or municipal,-and prescribe punishment for any violation of the same.
PARAGRAPH I. Returns of election for all civil officers elected by the people, who are to be commissioned by the Governor, and also for the members of the General Assembly, shall be made to the Secretary of State, unless otherwise provided by law.
PARAGRAPH I. The legislative power of the State shall be vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
PARAGRAPH I. The Senate shall consist of forty-four members. There shall be forty-four senatorial districts, as now arranged by counties. Each district shall have one senator.
The First Senatorial District shall be composed of the counties of Chatham, Bryan, and Effingham.
The Second Senatorial District shall be composed of the counties of Liberty, Tattnall, McIntosh, Toombs and Evans.
The Third Senatorial District shall be composed of the counties of Wayne, Pierce, Appling, Jeff Davis and Bacon.
The Fourth Senatorial District shall be composed of the counties of Glynn, Camden and Charlton.
The Fifth Senatorial District shall be composed of the counties of Coffee. Ware and Clinch.
The Sixth Senatorial District shall be composed of the counties of Echols, Lowndes, Berrien and Tift.
The Seventh Senatorial District shall be composed of the counties of Brooks, Thomas, Colquitt and Grady.
The Eighth Senatorial District shall be composed of the counties of Decatur. Mitchell and Miller.