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shall be a valuation of the estates within the State taken anew once in every five years at least, and as much oftener as the General Court shall order.
There shall be annually elected by the freeholders and other inhabitants of this State, qualified as in this Constitution is provided, twelve persons, to be senators for the year ensuing their election, to be chosen in and by the inhabitants of the districts into which this State may from time to time be divided by the General Court for that purpose ; and the General Court in assigning the number to be elected by the respective districts shall govern themselves by the proportion of public taxes paid by the said districts, and timely make known to the inhabitants of the State the limits of each district and the number of senators to be elected therein, provided the number of such districts shall never be more than ten, nor less than five.
And the several counties in this State shall, until the General Court shall order otherwise, be districts for the election of senators, and shall elect the following number, viz. : Rockingham, five; Strafford, two; Hillsborough, two; Cheshire, two; Grafton, one.
The Senate shall be the first branch of the Legislature, and the senators shall be chosen in the following manner, viz. : Every male inhabitant of each town and parish with town privileges in the several counties in this State, of twenty-one years of age and upwards, paying for himself a poll tax, shall have a right at the annual or other meetings of the inhabitants of said towns and parishes, to be duly warned, and holden annually forever in the month of March, to vote in the town or parish wherein he dwells for the senators in the county or district whereof he is a member.
And every person qualified as the Constitution provides shall be considered an inhabitant for the purpose of electing and being elected into any office or place within this State, in that town, parish, and plantation where he dwelleth and hath his home.
The selectmen of the several towns and parishes aforesaid shall, during the choice of senators, preside at such meetings impartially, and shall receive the votes of all the inhabitants of such towns and parishes, present and qualified to vote for senators, and shall sort and count the same in the meeting, and in presence of the town clerk, who shall make a fair record in presence of the selectmen, and in open meeting, of the name of every person voted for, and the number of votes against his name; and a fair copy of this record shall be attested by the selectmen and town clerk, and shall be sealed up and directed to the secretary of the State, with a superscription expressing the purport thereof, and delivered by said clerk to the sheriff of the county in which such town or parish lies, thirty days at least before the first Wednesday of June; and the sheriff of each county, or his deputy, shall deliver all such certificates by him received, into the secretary's office, seventeen days at least before the first Wednesday of June.
And the inhabitants of plantations and places unincorporated, qualified as this Constitution provides, who are or shall be required to assess taxes upon themselves towards the support of government, or shall be taxed therefor, shall have the same privilege of voting for senators in the plantations and places wherein they reside as the inhabitants of the respective towns and parishes aforesaid have.
And the meetings of such plantations and places for that purpose shall be holden annually in the month of March, at such places respectively therein as the assessors thereof shall direct; which assessors shall have like authority for notifying the electors, collecting and returning the votes, as the selectmen and town clerks have in their several towns by this Constitution. And, that there may be a due meeting of senators on the first Wednesday of June, annually, the president and three of the council for the time being shall, as soon as may be, examine the returned copies of such records; and fourteen days before the said first Wednesday in June, he shall issue his summons to such persons as appear to be chosen senators by a majority of votes, to attend and take their seats on that day; provided, nevertheless, that for the first year the said returned copies shall be examined by the president and five of the council of the former constitution of government; and the said president shall in like manner notify the persons elected to attend and take their seats accordingly.
The Senate shall be final judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications of their own members, as pointed out in this Constitution, and shall on the said first Wednesday of June, annually, determine and declare who are elected by each district to be senators by a majority of votes, and in case there shall not appear to be the full number returned elected by a majority of votes for any district, the deficiency shall be supplied in the following manner, viz. : The members of the House of Representatives and such senators as shall be declared elected shall take the names of such persons as shall be found to have the highest number of votes in each district, and not elected, amounting to twice the number of senators wanting, if there be so many voted for, and out of these shall elect by joint ballot the number of senators wanted for such district; and in this manner all such vacancies shall be filled up in every district of the State, and in like manner all vacancies in the Senate arising by death, removal out of the State, or otherwise, shall be supplied as soon as may be after such vacancies happen.
Provided, nevertheless, that no person shall be capable of being elected senator who is not of the Protestant religion, and seized of a freehold estate in his own right of the value of two hundred pounds, lying within this State, who is not of the age of thirty years, and who shall not have been an inhabitant of this State for seven years immediately preceding his election; and at the time thereof he shall be an inhabitant of the district for which he shall be chosen.
The Senate shall have power to adjourn themselves, provided such adjournment do not exceed two days at a time.
The Senate shall appoint their own officers, and determine their own rules of proceedings; and not less than seven members of the Senate shall make a quorum for doing business; and when less than eight senators shall be present, the assent of five at least shall be necessary to render their acts and proceedings valid.
The Senate shall be a court with full power and authority to hear and determine all impeachments made by the House of Representatives, against any officer or officers of the State, for misconduct or maladministration in their offices ; but previous to the trial of any such impeachment, the members of the Senate shall respectively be sworn truly and impartially to try and determine the charge in question according to evidence.
Their judgment, however, shall not extend farther than removal from office, disqualification to hold or enjoy any place of honor, trust, or profit under this State; but the party so convicted shall nevertheless be liable to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment, according to laws of the land.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. There shall be in the Legislature of this State a representation of the people annually elected and founded upon principles of equality; and in order that such representation may be as equal as circumstances will admit, every town, parish, or place entitled to town privileges, having one hundred and fifty ratable male polls of twenty-one years of age and upwards, may elect one representative; if four hundred and fifty ratable polls, may elect two representatives; and so proceeding in that proportion, making three hundred such ratable polls the mean increasing number for every additional representative.
Such towns, parishes, or places as have less than one hundred and fifty ratable polls shall be classed by the General Assembly for the purpose of choosing a representative and seasonably notified thereof.
And in every class formed for the above-mentioned purpose, the first annual meeting shall be held in the town, parish, or place wherein most of the ratable polls reside, and afterwards in that which has the next highest number, and so on annually, by rotation, through the several towns, parishes, or places forming the district.
Whenever any town, parish, or place entitled to town privileges, as aforesaid, shall not have one hundred and fifty ratable polls, and be so situated as to render the classing thereof with any other town, parish, or place very inconvenient, the General Assembly may, upon application of a majority of the voters in such town, parish, or place, issue a writ for their electing and sending a representative to the General Court.
The members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen annually in the month of March, and shall be the second branch of the Legislature.
All persons qualified to vote in the election of senators shall be entitled to vote within the town, district, parish, or place where they dwell in the choice of representatives. Every member of the House of Representatives shall be chosen by ballot; and for two years, at least, next preceding his election, shall have been an inhabitant of this state, shall have an estate within the