- Published: 24 November 2011
ART. XI. Instead of the third article of the bill of rights, the following modification and amendment thereof is substituted:--
"As the public worship of God and instructions in piety, religion, and morality, promote the happiness and prosperity of a people, and the security of a republican government; therefore, the several religious societies of this commonwealth, whether corporate or un-incorporate, at any meeting legally warned and holden for that purpose, shall ever have the right, to elect their pastors or religious teachers, to contract with them for their support, to raise money for erecting and repairing houses for public worship, for the maintenance of religious instruction, and for the payment of necessary expenses; and all persons belonging to any religious society shall be taken and held to be members, until they shall file with the clerk of such society a written notice, declaring the dissolution of their membership, and thenceforth shall not be liable for any grant or contract which may be thereafter made, or entered into by such society; and all religious sects and denominations, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good citizens of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law."
ART. XII. a [In order to provide for a representation of the citizens of this commonwealth, founded upon the principles of equality, a census of the ratable polls, in each city, town, and district of the commonwealth, on the first day of May, shall be taken and returned into the secretary's office, in such manner as the legislature shall provide, within the month of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven, and in every tenth year thereafter, in the month of May, in manner aforesaid; and each town or city having three hundred ratable polls at the last preceding decennial census of polls, may elect one representative, and for every four hundred and fifty ratable polls in addition to the first three hundred, one representative more.
Any town having less than three hundred ratable polls shall be represented thus: The whole number of ratable polls, at the last preceding decennial census of polls, shall be multiplied by ten, and the product divided by three hundred; and such town may elect one representative as many years within ten years, as three hundred is contained in the product aforesaid.
Any city or town having ratable polls enough to elect one or more representatives with any number of polls beyond the necessary number, may be represented, as to that surplus number, by multiplying such surplus number by ten and dividing the product by four hundred and fifty, and such city or town may elect one additional representative as many years, within the ten years, as four hundred and fifty is contained in the product aforesaid.
Any two or more of the several towns and districts may, by consent of a majority of the legal voters present at a legal meeting, in each of said towns and districts, respectively, called for that purpose, and held previous to the first day of July, in the year in which the decennial census of polls shall be taken, form themselves into a representative district to continue until the next decennial census of polls, for the election of a representative, or representatives; and such district shall have all the rights, in regard to representation, which would belong to a town containing the same number of ratable polls.
The governor and council shall ascertain and determine, within the months of July and August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven, according to the foregoing principles, the number of representatives, which each city, town, and representative district is entitled to elect, and the number of years, within the period of ten years then next ensuing, that each city, town, and representative district may elect an additional representative; and where any town has not a sufficient number of polls to elect a representative each year, then, how many years within the ten years, such town may elect a representative; and the same shall be done once in ten years, thereafter, by the governor and council, and the number of ratable polls in each decennial census of polls, shall determine the number of representatives, which each city, town and representative district may elect an aforesaid; and when the number or representatives to be elected by each city, town, or representative district is ascertained and determined as aforesaid, the governor shall cause the same to be published forthwith for the information of the people, and that number shall remain fixed and unalterable for the period of ten years.
All the provisions of the existing constitution inconsistent with the provisions herein contained, are hereby wholly annulled.]
ART. XIII.b [A census of the inhabitants of each city and town, on the first day of May, shall be taken, and returned into the secre tary's office, on or before the last day of June, of the year one thousand eight hundred and forty, and of every tenth year thereafter; which census shall determine the apportionment of senators and representatives for the term of ten years.
c The several senatorial districts now existing shall be permanent. The senate shall consist of forty members; and in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty, and every tenth year thereafter, the governor and council shall assign the number of senators to be chosen in each district, according to the number of inhabitants in the same. But, in all cases, at least one senator shall be assigned to each district.
d The members of the house of representatives shall be apportioned in the following manner: Every town or city containing twelve hundred inhabitants may elect one representative; and two thousand four hundred inhabitants shall be the mean increasing number, which shall entitle it to an additional representative.
Every town containing less than twelve hundred inhabitants shall be entitled to elect a representative as many times within ten years as the number one hundred and sixty is contained in the number of the inhabitants of said town. Such towns may also elect one representative for the year in which, the valuation of estates within the commonwealth shall be settled.
Any two or more of the several towns may, by consent of a majority of the legal voters present at a legal meeting, in each of said towns, respectively, called for that purpose, and held before the first day of August, in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty, and every tenth year thereafter, form themselves into a representative district, to continue for the term of ten years; and such district shall have all the rights, in regard to representation, which would belong to a town containing the same number of inhabitants.
The number of inhabitants which shall entitle a town to elect one representative, and the mean increasing number which shall entitle a town or city to elect more than one, and also the number by which the population of towns not entitled to a representative every year is to be divided, shall be increased, respectively, by one-tenth of the numbers above mentioned, whenever the population of the commonwealth shall have increased to seven hundred and seventy thousand, and for every additional increase of seventy thousand inhabitants, the same addition of one-tenth shall be made, respectively, to the said numbers above mentioned.
In the year of each decennial census, the governor and council shall, before the first day of September, apportion the number of representatives which each city, town, and representative district is entitled to elect; and ascertain how many years, within ten years, any town may elect a representative, which is not entitled to elect one every year; and the governor shall cause the same to be published forthwith.
e [Nine councillors shall be annually chosen from among the people at large, on the first Wednesday of January, or as soon thereafter as may be, by the joint ballot of the senators and representatives, assembled in one room, who shall, as soon as may be, in like manner, fill up any vacancies that may happen in the council, by death, resignation, or otherwise. No person shall be elected a councillor, who has not been an inhabitant of this commonwealth for the term of five years immediately preceding his election; and not more than one councillor shall be chosen from any one senatorial district in the commonwealth.]
No possession of a freehold, or of any, other estate, shall be required as a qualification for holding a seat in either branch of the general court, or in the executive council.
ART. XIV. In all elections of civil officers by the people of this commonwealth, whose election is provided for by the constitution, the person having the highest number of votes shall be deemed and declared to be elected.
ART. XV. The meeting for the choice of governor, lieutenant-governor, senators, and representatives, shall be held on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, annually; but in case of a failure to elect representatives on that day, a second meeting shall be holden, for that purpose, on the fourth Monday of the same month of November.
ART. XVI. Eight councillors shall be annually chosen by the inhabitants of this commonwealth, qualified to vote for governor. The election of councillors shall be determined by the same rule that is required in the election of governor. The legislature, at its first session after this amendment shall have been adopted, and at its first session after the next state census shall have been taken, and at its first session after each decennial state census thereafterwards, shall divide the commonwealth into eight districts of contiguous territory, each containing a number of inhabitants as nearly equal as practicable, without dividing any town or ward of a city, and each entitled to elect one councillor: provided, however, that if, at any time, the constitution shall provide for the division of the commonwealth into forty senatorial districts, then the legislature shall so arrange the councillor districts, that each district shall consist of five contiguous senatorial districts, as they shall be, from time to time, established by the legislature. No person shall be eligible to the office of councillor who has not been an inhabitant of the commonwealth for the term of five years immediately preceding his election. The day and manner of the election, the return of the votes, and the declaration of the said elections, shall be the same as are required in the election of governor. f [Whenever there shall be at failure to elect the full number of councillors, the vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as is required for filling vacancies in the senate; and vacancies occasioned by death, removal from the state, or otherwise, shall be filled in like manner, as soon as may be, after such vacancies shall have happened.] And that there may be no delay in the organization of the government on the first Wednesday of January, the governor, with at least five councillors for the time being, shall, as soon as may be, examine the returned copies of the records for the election of governor, lieutenant-governor, and councillors: and ten days before the said first Wednesday in January he shall issue his summons to such persons as appear to be chosen, to attend on that day to be qualified accordingly; and the secretary shall lay the returns before the senate and house of representatives on the said first Wednesday in January, to be by them examined; and in case of the election of either of said officers, the choice shall be by them declared and published; but in case there shall be no election of either of said officers, the legislature shall proceed to fill such vacancies in the manner provided in the constitution for the choice of such officers.
ART. XVII. The secretary, treasurer and receiver-general, auditor, and attorney-general, shall be chosen annually, on the day in November prescribed for the choice of governor; and each person then chosen as such, duly qualified in other respects, shall hold his office for the term of one year from the third Wednesday in January next thereafter, and until another is chosen and qualified in his stead. The qualification of the voters, the manner of the election, the return of the votes, and the declaration of the election, shall be such as are required in the election of governor. In case of a failure to elect either of said officers on the day in November aforesaid, or in case of the decease, in the mean time, of the person elected as such, such officer shall be chosen on or before the third Wednesday in January next thereafter, from the two persons who had the highest number of votes for said offices on the day in November aforesaid, by joint ballot of the senators and representatives, in one room; and in case the office of secretary, or treasurer and receiver-general, or auditor, or attorney-general, shall become vacant, from any cause, during an annual or special session of the general court, such vacancy shall in like manner be filled by choice from the people at large; but if such vacancy shall occur at any other time, it shall be supplied by the governor by appointment, with the advice and consent of the council. The person so chosen or appointed, duly qualified in other respects, shall hold his office until his successor is chosen and duly qualified in his stead. In case any person chosen or appointed to either of the offices aforesaid, shall neglect, for the space of ten days after he could otherwise enter upon his duties, to qualify himself in all respects to enter upon the discharge of such duties, the office to which he has been elected or appointed shall be deemed vacant. No person shall be eligible to either of said offices unless he shall have been an inhabitant of this commonwealth five years next preceding his election or appointment.
ART. XVIII. All moneys raised by taxation in the towns and cities for the support of public schools, and all moneys which may be appropriated by the state for the support of common schools, shall be applied to, and expended in, no other schools than those which are conducted according to law, under the order and superintendence of the authorities of the town or city in which the money is to be expended; and such moneys shall never be appropriated to any religious sect for the maintenance, exclusively, of its own school.
ART. XIX. The legislature shall prescribe, by general law, for the election of sheriffs, registers of probate, commissioners of insolvency, and clerks of the courts, by the people of the several counties, and that district-attorneys shall be chosen by the people of the several districts, for such term of office as the legislature shall prescribe.
ART. XX. g No person shall have the right to vote, or be eligible to office under the constitution of this commonwealth, who shall not be able to read the constitution in the English language, and write his name: provided, however, that the provisions of this amendment shall not apply to any person prevented by a physical disability from complying with its requisitions, nor to any person who now has the right to vote, nor to any persons who shall be sixty years of age or upwards at the time this amendment shall take effect.
a This article was superseded by amendments, Art. XIII., which was also superseded by amendments, Art. XXI.
b Provisions as to census superseded by amendments, Arts. XXI. and XXII.
c Provisions as to senators superseded by amendments, Art. XXII.
d Provisions as to representatives superseded by amendments, Art. XXI.
e Provisions as to councillors superseded by amendments, Art. XVI.
f For new provisions as to vacancies, see amendments, XXV.
g For other qualifications, see amendments, Art. III. See also amendments, Art. XXIII, which was annulled by amendments, Art. XXVI.