Lex Tullia de comitiis habendis (Nova Roma)
The senate and the people of Nova Roma enact this law for the regulation of the holding of comitia in the most practical way which is needed at the current period and according to the current needs of the republic. The lex Octavia de convocatione tribunicia comitiorum, the lex Salvia de convocatione tribunicia comitiorum, the lex Cornelia de ratione comitiorum centuriatorum, the lex Cornelia de ratione comitiorum tributorum and the lex Pompeia de ratione comitiorum plebis tributorum are hereby superseded by this lex. Magistrates or officers who are granted the right to call the Comitia Centuriata, Comitia Populi Tributa (Comitia Tributa) or the Comitia Plebis Tributa (Concilium Plebis) (hereinafter all of these will be referred to as the “comitia”) by the lex Cornelia Domitia de re publica constituenda or by other laws, normally a consul, or a praetor, or, in the case of the Concilium Plebis, a tribunus plebis (hereinafter all of them referred to as presiding magistrate or president) may call any of these comitia in order to hold two types of meetings, either a contio (a gathering for a hearing or a discussion) or a full session of the comitia to vote on rogationes to be enacted as lex or plebiscitum, to hold elections, or to conduct a legal proceeding (internal conflict resolution or disciplinary procedure of Nova Roma). The Comitia Curiata is a special type of comitia which is regulated by decrees of the Collegium Pontificum.
“Contio” is the term for a meeting of the comitia without the purpose of voting. Before the comitia would meet for a vote, at least one contio shall be held about the rogationes, the candidates or the legal case to be voted on.
I.A. Convening of the contio
- I.A.1. A contio may be summoned by an edictum of the presiding magistrate by making a public declaration announcing the summons in the official forum of Nova Roma. The official summons shall be entitled as “Summons of the Contio of the Comitia Centuriata (Tributa etc.),” and the text of the announcement must include:
- (1) the reporting of the opening ritual, who performed or is going to perform it, when it was or will be performed;
- (2) the dates and time when the contio shall begin and end (if it has a scheduled end date);
- (3) the agenda and the items to discuss;
- (4) the topics of consultation, the intended rogationes, or if there are drafts already, the texts of the drafts;
- (5) names of the candidates and the offices they are seeking;
- (6) names of the petitioners and defendants, the charges specified.
- I.A.1.a. Contiones do not necessarily have to have a predetermined closing date published in the summons. It is permitted that the presiding magistrate choose the closing date during the session.
- I.A.1.b. If the summons included a scheduled closing date, the presiding magistrate is allowed to deviate from that date, but changes must be announced.
- I.A.2. Opening of the contio
- After having announced the summons of the comitia to hold a contio, the presiding magistrate, or a representative of the presiding magistrate, shall perform the opening ritual, and the presiding magistrate shall, personally, open the session with a speech. If it’s technically not possible to offer the sacrifice at that time, the ritual should be held at least on the first day of the contio. If the ritual had been performed after the summons had been posted, the report about the completion of the opening ritual shall be posted separately.
I.B. Duration of the contio
A contio may not last longer than a trinundinum, i.e. three nundina (three 8-day periods, 24 days or 576 hours): if the same agenda still requires more debate, a new contio shall be called. If the presiding magistrate does not dissolve the contio before the expiration of this maximum time frame, the contio is considered as automatically dissolved and any parts held after the maximum duration shall be deemed illegal and unlawful. The measuring of the length of the contio for the purpose of determining whether it satisfied the instructions in this law shall be done the following way: the start date shall be either the one announced in the official schedule or the moment of the opening statement by the presiding magistrate, whichever is earlier; the end date shall be the moment when the presiding magistrate issued the closing statement. The president of the session may specify the date of the taking of effect of the opening statement and the closing statement to make them match the official schedule even if they are published sooner. If the presiding magistrate does not dissolve the contio within 72 hours of the scheduled end date, the contio is disbanded automatically after the 72 hours have passed.
- I.B.1. In case of legislation, between the presentation of the first version of the proposal and the last day of the comitia voting on the proposal, at least a period of a trinundinum (three 8-day periods, that is, 24 days or 576 hours, henceforth “trinundinum”) shall be observed. Both the initial draft and the final draft (the result of the debates) shall be presented in a contio (in the same or in different contiones). Between the presentation of the final draft of the rogatio and the first day of the comitia voting, at least three days (72 hours) shall be observed.
- I.B.1.a. If the colleagues, the superiors or the tribunes of the plebs find that the changes between the initial draft and the final draft put to vote are too significant and they warrant more discussion, they have the right to issue an intercessio against the summons of the comitia to vote; in this case, the presiding magistrate shall convene the contio again, and allot a time for more discussion until a nundinum (8 days, 192 hours, henceforth “nundinum”) is completed between the presentation of the final draft and the convening of the comitia to vote, after which nundinum no veto against the calling of the voting comitia shall be possible.
- I.B.1.b. If the vetoing magistrates will be satisfied with a shorter period of additional discussion, the contio can be dissolved, and the comitia to vote called, sooner than the required nundinum.
- I.B.2. In case of litigation, between the official presentation of the case to the people in contio and the last day of the comitia voting deciding the case, at least a period of a nundinum shall be observed. The legal case shall be presented, and the legal proceedings shall be conducted, in a contio (one or more).
- I.B.3. In case of elections, between the presentation of the list of the candidates (the one presented after the time allotted to answer the last call for candidates) to the people in contio and the last day of the comitia voting on the candidates, at least a period of one nundinum shall be observed. If there is a change in the list of candidates (for example, a candidacy is withdrawn), the required nundinum does not have to be restarted. The list of candidates shall be presented to the people in a contio, and one or more contiones shall be held to discuss the candidates and to hear public endorsement for candidates.
- I.B.4. In case of a consultative session held merely to exchange ideas, hear speeches, reports, or held for ceremonial reasons, there is no required minimum duration.
I.C. Dissolution of the contio
The presiding magistrate shall close the contio and dissolve the meeting by a speech to the contio, in which the presiding magistrate shall present the results of the debates, the current (or final) form of the draft, the status of the trial or the list of the candidates. The presiding magistrate shall mention if a follow up contio is planned, or if the comitia are planned to be convened for vote. Since the contio never produces a decision, there is no need for closing ritual to sanction the decisions. The presiding magistrate can dissolve the contio at any point during the contio if he or she deems it necessary, even if the required duration was not completed, in which case, however, the number of days required for the topic must be supplemented in another contio.
II. Voting session of the comitia
The comitia proper are always a session where voting is held, this is the full form of the comitia.
II.A. Convening of the comitia to vote
- II.A.1. If auspices were taken and pronounced favorable, a voting session of the comitia may be summoned by an edictum of the presiding magistrate by making a public declaration announcing the summons in the official forum of Nova Roma. The official summons shall be entitled as “Summons of the Comitia Centuriata (Tributa etc.)”, and its text of the announcement must include:
- (1) the reporting of the favorable auspices obtained for the holding of the comitia;
- (2) the reporting of the opening ritual, who performed or is going to perform it, when it was or will be performed;
- (3) the dates and time when the comitia shall begin and end, and when the voting shall begin and end, and any additional special instructions necessary that pertain to the mechanics of the vote;
- (4) the names of the rogatores, diribitores and custodes appointed earlier or by this edict;
- (5) the agenda and the items to vote on;
- (6) the texts of the rogationes;
- (7) names of the candidates and the office they are seeking;
- (8) names of the petitioners and defendants, the charges specified.
- II.A.1.a. After the start of the voting period, the presiding magistrate shall not change anything on the agenda and the items to vote on, nothing can be added or removed.
- II.A.1.b. The presiding magistrate may change the scheduled dates of the session by issuing an edict on the modification of the official time schedule of the comitia, subject to intercessio. These modifications must remain within the time frames auspicated for the session.
- II.A.1.c. Importance of the observation of the scheduled and the inaugurated days
- II.A.1.c.i. The presiding magistrate shall not purposefully deviate from the scheduled day dates that were announced in edict; deviation from the hours and minutes shall be acceptable, but the change in the schedule must be announced. The closing day of the comitia, however, shall be considered a mobile day: depending on how long it takes for the diribitores to deliver the result and for the president to perform the closing rites, to close the session and to report the results, the closing day can be earlier or later than announced in the convoking edict, but it shall never be later than the last day allowed for the comitia by this law and than the last day auspicated for the session.
- II.A.1.c.ii. If the scheduled or auspicated day dates (excepting the closing day, unless if it falls outside the auspicated period for the session) are not followed during the session, the augures shall decide if it was in violation of the auspices, and if they find that the change in the schedule caused a vitium, they may declare the session and its results invalid. Deviation from the legally required minimum or maximum duration of a session, a voting, or from other deadlines is not considered a mere “change in the schedule” but a breaking of the law.
- II.A.2. Opening of the comitia
- Before the announcement of the opening speech of the session of the comitia, the presiding magistrate, or the representative of the presiding magistrate, shall perform the opening ritual. After the issuance of the summons and the performance of the opening ritual, the presiding magistrate shall, personally, open the session with a speech and a call to vote. The opening sacrifice may be postponed, if it is technically impossible to be performed before the opening speech is posted, to after the opening, but it must be performed before the voting would start. If the ritual was performed after the summons have been posted, the report about the completion of the opening ritual shall be posted separately. The first day of the comitia is legally the day on which the opening sacrifice was performed, and everything shall be counted from that day; even if the presiding magistrate opened the session by a statement, the comitia cannot be considered to have begun without the opening sacrifice.
- II.A.3. The voting comitia may have an initial part during which voting has not yet started, but the presiding magistrates and others hold their last speeches before the start of the voting. It is up to the presiding magistrate to decide whether the session has such a part, and how long it should be, but it may not take up more than three days (72 hours) of the comitia.
II.B. Duration of the voting comitia
The full session of the comitia with voting included shall not last longer than a nundinum (192 hours). If the presiding magistrate does not dissolve the comitia before the expiration of the maximum legal time frame, the session is considered as automatically terminated and any parts held after the maximum duration shall be deemed illegal and unlawful. Such an automatically terminated session, and its results, may still be considered valid if its president performs, and reports, the closing ceremony, and publishes the results of the session within three days (72 hours) after the automatic end, inasmuch as the augures do not declare such a session of the comitia invalid. An invalidated session may be reconvened at another date according to procedure. For the measuring of the length of the comitia for the purpose of determining whether it satisfied the instructions in this law, the same rules apply as for the contio, at Section I.B.
II.C. Voting procedures
The voting period of the comitia shall last for a minimum of five days (120 hours). Voting can start after a call to vote has been published, and it terminates only when the closing of the voting period has been issued. Votes cast before or after these announcements but still within the officially scheduled voting period determined by the presiding magistrate must also be accepted and counted as valid. The measuring of the length of the voting period for the purpose of determining whether it satisfied the instructions in this law shall be done the following way: the start date shall be either the one announced in the official schedule or the moment of the call to vote by the presiding magistrate, whichever is earlier; the end date shall be either the one in the official schedule or the moment when the presiding magistrate issued the closing of the cista, whichever is later. The president of the session may specify the date of the taking of effect of the call to vote and the announcement closing the voting period to make them match the official schedule even if they are published sooner. If the presiding magistrate does not close the voting within 12 hours of the scheduled end date, the voting is closed automatically after the 12 hours have passed.
- II.C.1. Election officials
- The officials administering the voting procedure are the rogatores, diribitores and the custodes, appointed by the presiding officer shortly before the comitia, or by the edict of summons, for the duration of the comitia. Their term of office ends automatically when the comitia are dissolved. They shall uniformly receive service points according to the lex Arria de censu civium aestimando III.A.7.c.ii, as “4th rank Officials: Apparitor (accensus, scriba, praeco, lictor etc)”. Only assidui can be appointed, and the presiding magistrate is not allowed to occupy these offices.
- II.C.1.a. The duties of the rogatores are to ask the citizens to vote by advertising the voting in any and all venues of communication, to assist citizens in the voting procedure, to answer their questions in connection to the technical and procedural aspects ongoing voting, to identify and to register the voters by centuries or tribes, and to pass the anonymous list of votes by centuries and tribes to the diribitores for counting. For the sake of tiebreaking, the rogatores shall provide the citizenship date and the birthdate of all candidates to the diribitores. The rogatores shall have access both to the cista and Censorial Database of the Album Civium in order to fulfil their duties. Because the rogatores work with sensitive private data of the citizens, only officers of the Censorial Office may be appointed to this position. One of the rogatores can be appointed as custos. There shall be at least one rogator. Candidates for censorship, consulship, praetorship and plebeian tribuneship may not serve as rogatores.
- II.C.1.b. The duties of the diribitores are to count the votes within the tribes and centuries, to calculate the total result of the votes of tribes and centuries and to resolve the ties which do not involve the drawing of lots. Procedural questions among the election officials shall be decided by a majority decision of the diribitores. One of the diribitores can also be appointed as custos. There shall be at least two diribitores.
- II.C.1.c. The duties of the custodes is to guard, supervise and certify the entire voting process, and to resolve ties which require a drawing of lots. The custodes shall have access to the cista in order to fulfil their duties. A diribitor or a rogator can be appointed as custos, but no election official shall fill all three offices, and there shall be at least one custos who is not a rogator. Candidates in the election are not allowed to serve as custodes.
- II.C.2. Casting of the ballots
- II.C.2.a. The method of voting shall be clarified in the edict which contains the summons of the comitia to vote, and its organization is the responsibility of the presiding magistrate. Anonymity of the voters shall be maintained in the voting process, but the rogatores, the custodes, and, by decision of the rogatores, the diribitores, shall have access to the cista, the online voting urn, in order to fulfil their duties.
- II.C.2.b. In the case of a magisterial election, all voters shall have the option to select their preferred candidates. Citizens may vote for one candidate per office vacancy. In the case of legislation, for each proposed law, each voter shall have to option to vote “UR” or UTI ROGAS (yes) and “A” or ANTIQUO (no). In the case of a legal proceeding each voter shall have the option to vote “C” or CONDEMNO (guilty), “A” or ABSOLVO (not guilty), or “NL” or “NON LIQUET” (unclear).
- II.C.2.c. If a voter casts more than one votes, only the last one shall be counted.
- II.C.2.d. The president of the session may suspend the voting for various reasons (e. g. obnutiatio, technical problems, interruptions etc.), and the time during which voting was halted shall not be counted toward the time total of the voting period but it shall be subtracted from it, and the voting period shall be extended, if necessary, in an announcement by the president.
- II.C.3. Counting of the votes
- The participation quorum of tribes or centuries for a valid and legal decision or outcome of elections shall be at least two-thirds of all tribes or centuries (rounded up): at least two-thirds of all tribes or centuries shall submit a vote in order to constitute a valid decision of comitia. In case of a vote on laws that require a two-third majority to be passed, the quorum shall be four-fifths of all centuries and tribes (rounded up) voting in the session: at least four-fifths of all tribes or centuries shall vote in order to constitute a valid session.
- II.C.3.a. Under the duration of the voting period, the rogatores shall identify the centuries and tribes of the individual voters, group the votes by centuries and tribes, and shall, no later than within 3 hours after the end of the voting period, report the votes by centuries or tribes, without the name of the voters, to the diribitores who have to count the votes and determine the result no later than 6 hours after the end of the voting period. If the diribitores need help in the counting, the rogatores and the custodes are allowed to assist. If the rogatores need help in the distribution of votes according to centuries and tribes, the diribitores and custodes are allowed to assist: in such case, the rogatores may invite one or more diribitores to access the cista, and to be privy to the names of the voters; but those diribitores who are not involved shall still not receive the names for the counting. Candidates for censorship, consulship, praetorship and plebeian tribuneship serving as diribitores may not be granted access to the cista.
- II.C.3.b. The diribitores shall count the votes by centuries in the comitia centuriata and by tribes in the two forms of comitia tributa. The decision of the majority of the centuries or tribes shall be the result of the voting comitia. If the result is a tie, the rogatio shall be considered failed, or the result of the litigation shall be acquittal. Ties are broken only in case of elections.
- II.C.3.c. When calculating the majority, the centuries or tribes which did not submit any vote shall not be counted toward the total. If a century or tribe has no members enrolled, the diribitores shall not count them toward the total.
- II.C.3.d. In the case of an election, the votes of each century or tribe shall be calculated as follows. For each century or tribe, the candidates shall be ranked in order by the number of votes they receive. The candidate who receives the most votes wins the century or tribe and becomes the designated candidate of the century or tribe for the first vacancy of that office. This process is continued until the century or tribe will have designated candidates for all vacancies of the office. Ties shall not be decided between the winning candidates who were designed by the century or tribe, but only between those candidates whose designation for office depends on the breaking of the tie.
- II.C.3.e. In the case of a vote on a rogatio, a century or tribe shall vote in favor of the rogatio if the majority of votes within that century are marked “UTI ROGAS”. If the century or tribe is tied, it shall be counted as against.
- II.C.3.f. In the case of a vote on a legal proceeding, each century or tribe shall vote for conviction if a majority of the votes received from the members of that century are marked “CONDEMNO”. If the century or tribe is tied, it shall be counted as a vote for acquittal.
- II.C.3.g. The breaking of ties in elections
- In case of elections, ties shall be broken and the fact that century or tribe was tied shall be be reported together with the result of the tie breaking. The following procedure shall be utilized to determine the results of ties, for both ties in individual centuries or tribes and in the sum total of the comitia:
- II.C.3.g.i. The tie is resolved giving the highest position to the candidate who has been a citizen of Nova Roma the longest.
- II.C.3.g.ii. If the previous step failed to break the tie, the result shall be determined between the ages of the tied candidates. The oldest candidate will be declared the winner of the tie.
- II.C.3.g.iii. If both steps failed to break the tie, the result shall be decided by lot, conducted by the custodes.
- II.C.3.h. The centuria praerogativa and the principium tribe
- II.C.3.h.i. Before the start of the voting, the diribitores shall select, by lot, a centuria praerogativa (“century asked first”) from among the centuries of the First Class (including the six equestrian centuries) or a principium (“starter”) from among the rural tribes. As part of the lottery, they shall draw the order of First Class centuries or rural tribes in which order they are entitled to vote as centuria praerogativa or principium.
- II.C.3.h.ii. The diribitores shall communicate the result of the drawing of the lot to the presiding magistrate who shall include this information in the call to vote, the list of the order of the tribes or centuries, and the selected centuria praerogativa and principium.
- II.C.3.h.iii. During the voting period, the diribitores shall announce the current (incomplete) standing of the vote in the centuria praerogativa or in the principium (without disclising the number of votes) to the people after the first third of the time allotted to the voting period has passed, but no later than the middle of the voting period. (Example: If the voting period lasts 120 hours, the diribitores shall report the current result of the centuria praerogativa or the principium after 40 hours but no later than 60 hours.)
- II.C.3.h.iv. If there are no votes in the centuria praerogativa or in the principium, the diribitores shall announce the next century or tribe in the order of tribes or centuries, or if that one did not vote, either, the first one from the list which has voted, which becomes the new centuria praerogativa or principium, and the diribitores shall announce the new the centuria praerogativa or principium and its current result to the people, as described above.
- II.C.3.i. When the diribitores have completed the calculation of the final results, they shall add the name of the first voter of the centuria praerogativa or principium tribe to their report. The custodes, who are privy to the entire process, shall review the report, shall break the ties, and shall send the report of the diribitores with the certified results to the presiding magistrate. Only the aggregate number of the votes of centuries or tribes shall be delivered to the presiding magistrate; the votes of individual citizens and the proportion of votes within the tribes or centuries shall remain secret.
- II.C.4. Certification of the results of the voting
- II.C.4.a. The custodes have the responsibility to supervise and control the regularity and lawfulness of the voting and vote counting process, and to investigate any verifiable concern regarding the vote, during the voting period of the comitia. The custodes shall have the ability to review all actions taken by the rogatores and diribitores to ensure accuracy and impartiality. The custodes shall send the certified results of the comitia to the presiding magistrate within a day (24 hours) after the conclusion of the vote. If the custodes need additional time, they may seek an extension of time from the presiding magistrate who has the discretion to approve an extension or not.
- II.C.4.b. The custodes shall certify the results of the voting by sending a notification to the presiding magistrate that they certify the voting results as authentic and lawful. If there are more than one custos in office, all of them shall sign the certification of the voting. If they are in disagreement, this counts as a refusal of certification, and those disputing the validity of the voting shall send their report on the irregularities to the presiding magistrate. If any of the custodes is missing in action, the reporting colleague shall note the absence of the colleague in the communication about the certification, and in such case the absent custos shall be considered to consent. If all the custodes fail either to certify or to invalidate the results within the 24 hour timeframe, they are deemed to have consented, and the comitia results shall be considered certified by the diribitores, unless the diribitores or the rogatores make a public objection against the validity of the results, in which case the procedure at II.C.4.c shall be continued, as if the diribitores or rogatores were the custodes.
- II.C.4.c. If the custodes refuse to certify the results, they are required to send a report to the presiding magistrate including their rationale about the illegalities that they have discovered. In this case, the presiding magistrate shall convene an emergency session of the senate for the sole purpose of addressing this issue and to promulgate a senatus consultum judging and resolving the situation. If the senate decides to override the custodes’ decision, the results of the comitia are certified by this decision of the senate. If the senate determines that the issues raised by the custodes are valid, the senate can issue a senatus consultum to fix the problems if these are considered minor problems that do not substantially influence the results of voting, and the elections are thus certified and validated by the senate. If the problems are deemed to discredit the results fundamentally, the results of the comitia are declared null and void by the senate, and a new session of the comitia shall be convoked.
- II.C.4.d. After the presiding magistrate has received the certified results, the presiding magistrate shall close the comitia.
II.D. Closing of the comitia
- II.D.1. The presiding magistrate shall close the voting in the comitia with an announcement, and then the presiding magistrate shall wait for the results from the diribitores, certified by the custodes. After having received the certified results, the presiding magistrate, or their representative, shall perform the closing ritual. After and only after the ritual, the presiding magistrate may and shall close the session of the comitia by a speech to the people, in which the presiding magistrate shall present the results of the voting and shall report the closing ritual. The closing announcement shall include a full report of the session with the same information that was present in the summons but now with the actual dates and hours, the enacted decisions and results, the name of the centuria praerogativa and the principium tribe, and the name of the first voter in each.
- II.D.2. The presiding magistrate can dissolve the comitia at any time before its official end, but in this case the comitia cannot produce any valid decisions: even if the voting has concluded, but the comitia was closed before the last acts of presenting the results and performing the closing ritual, the decisions of the session remain invalid.
- II.D.3. A comitia are closed legally only if the closing sacrifice has been performed; even if the presiding magistrate closed the session by a statement, the comitia cannot be considered completed or valid without the closing sacrifice. The session can end with a valid result only with the reporting of the completion of the closing ceremony.
- II.D.3.a. The period between the end of the voting and the announcement of the closing ceremony shall not be longer than two days (48 hours).
- II.D.3.b. If the session would run over the allowed period of a nundinum, or over the period of the days auspicated for the session, due to a delay (for example, of the vote count), the closing ritual shall be performed on the last lawful day of the comitia, even if the report of results and the official closing statement are still to be expected. The augures may rule on whether a session with an irregular timing was acceptable or in breach of auspices, as described in II.A.1.c, and may invalidate the session.
- II.D.3.c. If a session runs over the term of office of its presiding magistrate, the session is immediately and automatically dissolved. If the voting has already been concluded, and the presiding magistrate is able to perform the closing ritual before the expiration of their office, the diribitores shall complete the counting and report the results. The augures may rule on whether such a session was acceptable or in breach of auspices, as described in II.A.1.c, and may invalidate the session. If the voting is not closed before the end of the term of the presiding magistrate, or if the closing ritual is performed only after the term of office of the session president ended, the session is invalid.
III. Concurrent sessions
The lex Hortensia de legibus scribundis allows different magistrates to hold sessions of the comitia at the same time, whether entirely in parallel or overlapping in time. This section clarifies the regulations on holding concurrent sessions.
III.A. Two or more contiones or voting comitia may be held at the same time, either convened by the same magistrate, or by different magistrates. The same magistrate can hold more than one session of the comitia, as well. Concurrent sessions may be completely synchronized regarding their schedules and method of conducting if mentioned in the convening edict. The presiding magistrate who convened one type of the comitia first shall have the right to veto the convening of the same type of comitia concurrently by a colleague or by magistrate of lesser authority.
III.B. The president of one of the concurrent sessions may delegate the role of presiding officer to the president of the other concurrent session in the edict of the summons, in which case the delegating president still remains the presiding magistrate of his or her session formally, but he or she resigns from practicing the rights of session president. The delegation of session presidency may happen only between magistrates who are both entitled to preside over the specific type of the comitia. There are two announcements which the delegating president may not delegate but must do personally: the issuing of the summons and the closing announcement with the results.
III.C. One or more colleagues of the presiding magistrate, or a consul by a praetor, a praetor by a consul, may be taken as an honorary co-chairman of the session, and their rogationes may be included as if they were the convening magistrates of the session: this method can eliminate the need for a concurrent session. Such honorary co-chairmen shall not have the rights of a presiding magistrates, the rights of the position are exhausted by the addition of their proposals. If a rogatio on the name of a colleague (or a collega minor or maior) is included in the agenda to vote on, that magistrate is automatically deemed as an honorary co-chairman of the session.
III.D. Decisions regarding procedural questions, the method of conducting the debates, disciplinary actions and forum regulations in case of concurrent sessions are made according to the usual method how magistrates decide prevalence between each other in case of conflicting intentions. Presiding magistrates who delegated their presidential role to the president of the other session lose all rights to make their own decisions in these questions, but they remain still entitled to dissolve their own session if they deem it necessary.
IV. Conducting of the debates, forum regulations during comitia
IV.A. During contiones or voting comitia, the normal forum regulations remain in force, but in addition to those, the president of the session may restrict the ability of sending letters with speeches and comments to the electronic forum of Nova Roma where the session is being held. If, in the view of the presiding magistrate, a citizen has repeatedly expressed the same opinion about the same issue, and further repetition would not serve the debate any longer, the president may issue a public warning to the citizen to discontinue repeating an opinion. After three such public warnings have been issued, the presiding magistrate may put that citizen on moderation for the duration of the contio or voting comitia. The president may not restrict the speaking right of a magistrate of equal or higher potestas and authority, or that of a tribune of the plebs.
IV.B. Regarding harsh language, insults and disrespectful behavior, the presiding magistrate may apply stricter, but never lighter, criteria than what are defined by the aediles and by the normal regulations of public speech and behavior on the Forum Novum Romanum, and may warn and put citizens on moderation based on those criteria. If the session president deviates from the normal regulations in such a stricter manner, he or she shall publish a “Rule of Session” in which the president clarifies what he or she considers the behavioral norms during the session, and disciplinary action may be taken only after the “Rule of Session” has been published. If the presiding magistrate wanted to exercise not stricter lighter criteria than the aedilician forum regulations on what is considered disruptive behavior, he or she should have to issue an edict, if it is within his or her power, overriding or replacing the forum regulations. The “Rule of Session” expires with the end of the session.
IV.C. Presidents of concurrent sessions and honorary co-chaimen may not be put on moderation or restricted in their rights to communicate in the forum by any presiding magistrate.
V. Religious checks of the comitial procedures
V.A. The augures may exercise their powers of obnuntiatio during the sessions of the comitia. In addition, this present law clarifies that all magistrates having the ius auspicii within the central government may also pronounce obnuntiatio during sessions of the comitia, because the sacred right of obnuntiatio lies within the right of auspices. Private citizens can also report or announce ill omens to the presiding magistrate which the presiding magistrate must report to the comitia during session with an interpretation and a decision attached whether it is accepted or dismissed. If accepted, the president shall adjourn the session as in any case of valid obnuntiatio.
- V.A.1. Among the magistrates, the strength of the validity of an obnuntiatio depends on the grade of the ius auspicii a magistrate holds (auspicia maxima, maiora or minora): the obnuntiatio of magistrates with auspicia minora can be annulled by the issuance of a positive interpretation of the evil omen by a magistrate with auspicia maiora, and interpretations published by magistrates with auspicia maxima may annul the obnuntiatio issued by a magistrate of auspicia maiora.
- V.A.2. While augures do not have the ius auspicii, their obnuntiatio, as coming from religious experts, is the most powerful which no magistrate can annul.
- V.A.3. Magistrates with equal degree of auspicia, or augures, cannot annul each other’s obnuntiatio.
V.B. The exercise of obnuntiatio shall suspend the contio and the voting comitia for the day on which it was issued, according to the local time of the issuer. If a vote is in progress, votes issued after the date of the obnuntiatio shall not be valid, and shall later be recast, after the suspension of the session has ended. The comtia resume automatically after midnight, according to the local time of the issuer of the obnuntiatio. If adverse omens continue to be received on the following days, new obnuntiationes may be issued as long as the adverse omens remain. This might cause the comitia to deviate from schedule and to run out of the time allowed to be used for the session, thus effectively cancelling the session. A new session may be convened for the same purpose on any next day that is available.
V.C. A valid obnuntiatio can be made only before the end of a voting, and it shall be published on the day of its observation (according to the local time of the obnuntiator) in an announcement with full description and all details of the ill omen, the circumstances of its observation, place, time, number of occurrence, with the name of at least one witness (except if the omen is a widely documented public phenomenon), and with an argumentation why the obnuntiator believes that the sign should be interpreted against the holding of the comitia. An obnuntiatio published in this format may not be disregarded, but an obnuntiatio which does not follow these requirements may be ignored by the presiding magistrate.
V.D. Within the next 6 hours after the original obnuntiatio, a session president with higher degree of ius auspicii than the obnuntiator, other magistrates with higher degree of ius auspicii than the obnuntiator but who do not preside the session, and augures, can re-interpret the signs as not unfavorable, according to V.A.1, if they are possible to be re-interpreted, and can dismiss the obnuntiatio. A re-interpretation can similarly be contested in a counter re-interpretation by someone with an even higher grade of ius auspicii or by an augur. Interpretations of the same grade or ius auspicii, however, shall not be added up as votes: the higher-ranking interpretation trumps the lower-ranking, and among interpretations within the same rank only the first has compelling force. After this period of time, no re-interpretation can be issued, and the obnuntiatio remains in force.
V.E. The ability to vote during the voting period may be impacted due to calendar issues as enacted by decreta of the Collegium Pontificum. Any impact must be announced by the presiding magistrate.
V.F. All deviations from the ritual prescriptions, auspices, the handling of the reported signs and obnuntiationes, the correctness of the opening and closing ceremonies, their timing, reporting etc. shall be a matter for review by any of the augures who, if they detect a serious vitium, may invalidate the session by a declaration. If the various participants in these processes cannot come to a consensus due to controversial interpretations of signs, laws, procedures, the Collegium Pontificum has the power to give the final ruling on the case.
V.G. All ritual and religious regulations apply to accelerated and emergency sessions of the comitia, as well.
VI. Intercessiones during the comitial procedures
Except when otherwise stated in this or in other laws, the convening of a session of the comitia, the time schedule of the comitia, the opening, the call to vote, the closing of the vote, the closing of the session, the results of a session may not be obstructed by a tribunician intercessio or by a collegial veto, however, a higher magistrate may veto the convening of the comitia by a lower magistrate. According to the lex Cornelia Domitia de re publica constituenda, rogationes, may be vetoed “before their enactment”, which, for the purposes of this law, shall be interpreted as “before the closing of the voting period”. Although a lex will take effect only after the announcement of the results of the vote, the vote is the decisive factor in its enactment, and allowing the tribunes of the plebs to use the time while the diribitores count and the presiding magistrate is performing the closing ceremony for last minute vetoes, after the entire people has already made their decision, would cause an instability in the process.
VII. Accelerated procedure for the comitia
If the presiding magistrate deems it necessary, a contio or voting comitia may be held according to the accelerated procedure. The holding of a session with the accelerated procedure is subject to collegial veto, the veto of a superior magistrate, and to tribunician intercessio. If such a session is vetoed, but it is already in process, the session president shall re-issue the schedule and hold the rest of the session according to the normal procedure, compensating to any time difference that was cut off. A change in the Constitution or the Articles of Incorporation may not be enacted by an accelerated session of the comitia.
VII.A. The use of accelerated procedure, and the reasoning for it, shall be mentioned in the summoning edict together with the accelerated time schedule for the session.
VII.B. According to the accelerated procedure, between the presentation of the first version of the rogatio, the legal case, or the list of candidates, and the last day of the comitia voting, at least a period of a five days (120 hours) shall be observed. The minimum duration of the contio, according to the accelerated procedure, shall be one day (24 hours). The minimum duration of the voting comitia, according to the accelerated procedure, shall be three days (72 hours). The minimum duration of the voting period within the comitia shall also be three days.
VII.C. If the comitia are held according to the accelerated procedure, at least four-fifths of all centuries or tribes (rounded up) shall vote in order to constitute a valid quorum for the session and to produce valid and lawful results.
VIII. Emergency session of the comitia
In case of an emergency, an emergency session of the comitia may be held for elections or for enacting a law; legal proceedings may not be conducted in an emergency session. The requirement of holding a contio in emergency is waived, the procedure can be started with the voting comitia. The holding of an emergency session of the comitia is subject to collegial veto, the veto of a superior magistrate, and to tribunician intercessio. If the emergency session is vetoed, but it is already in process, the session president shall re-issue the schedule and hold the rest of the session according to the normal procedure, compensating to any time difference that was cut off. A change in the Constitution or the Articles of Incorporation may not be enacted by an emergency session of the comitia.
VIII.A. The summoning edict shall clarify and explain the need for the emergency session, together with the emergency schedule for the session.
VIII.B. According to the emergency procedure, between the presentation of the first version of the rogatio or the list of candidates, and the last day of the comitia voting, at least a period of one day (24 hours) shall be observed. The minimum duration of the emergency comitia shall be one day. The minimum duration of the voting period within the comitia shall also be one day.
VIII.C. In an emergency session of the comitia, at least four-fifths of all centuries or tribes (rounded up) shall vote in order to constitute a valid quorum for the session and to produce valid and lawful results.
IX. Date of the taking of effect of the results of the comitia
IX.A. A rogatio is considered enacted and candidates become elected on the last day of the voting period, after the conclusion of voting: the exact hour is the announcement of results, but if the announcements are not made on the same day, the moment of enactment and election is the end of the voting period. The presiding magistrate is permitted to proclaim, in edict, another day and hour between the conclusion of the voting and the announcement of the results if a certain date of enactment or election is needed for ceremonial reasons (e.g. voting concludes on pridie Kal. Ian. i.e. on 31 Dec., but the vote counting results could be announced only the next year, magistrates should be considered elected still before New Year).
IX.B. If otherwise not stated in the decision passed by the comitia, or in another relevant law, an enacted lex takes effect, and a legal case or verdict is officially decided, in the moment of the announcement of the results of comitia by the presiding magistrate. If this announcement is outside the scheduled time frames of the comitia, or outside the auspicated time frames, the augures may invalidate the results as described in section II.A.1.c.