Voting procedure (Nova Roma)

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Nova Roman citizens elect a variety of magistrates, for terms of one year, to conduct official business. The two censores are elected for a term of two years, but are elected to staggered terms. In addition to electing magistrates the citizens are also called on to enact laws.

Nova Roma follows the tradition of Roma Antiqua in that there is no concept or practice of "one citizen, one vote". The citizens of Nova Roma do not vote directly for candidates or for proposed laws. For voting purposes, citizens are divided into tribes and centuries. The winner by majority in each tribe or century becomes the "vote" of that tribe or century. The first candidate to earn enough of these tribe or century votes to satisfy election requirements is the winner.


Timing of elections

Elections for magistrates are held in the fall of each year. However, if an elected official resigns, the appropriate comitia may be summoned to a special election to fill the vacancy, so elections may take place at anytime of the year. During these elections a person may stand as a candidate for one magistracy (office) that they are not currently holding. Roman practice did not allow for the holding of more that one magistracy at a time.

The presiding magistrate, a consul, praetor or tribunus plebis will issue a call for candidates if holding an election for a magistrate and will issue an edict that will establish the duration of voting. A contio will be part of each election and is basically the campaign and debate period before voting. All Nova Roman elections start and stop according to the current time in the City of Rome, although the edict summoning the comitia and publishing the schedule may use a different time zone the cista runs on the same time zone as the City of Rome.

Three voting bodies

There are three different legislative bodies, based on the ancient Roman Republic.

Comitia Centuriata

The comitia centuriata (Assembly of Centuries) is made up of all of the citizens. It enacts laws that are binding upon all citizens and is also empowered try legal cases in which a citizen is suject to permanent removal of citizenship. The current law governing the comitia centuriata is lex Cornelia de ratione comitiorum centuriatorum.

Comitia Plebis Tributa

The comitia plebis tributa (Assembly of the Plebeians) is made up of all non-patrician citizens, grouped into their respective tribes. It elects both the plebeian aediles and the tribunes of the plebs. It is also empowered to enact laws binding upon the entire citizenry (called plebiscites) and to try legal cases solely involving members of the plebeian order that do not involve permanent removal of citizenship. The current law governing the comitia plebis tributa is lex Pompeia de ratione comitiorum plebis tributorum.

Comitia Populi Tributa

The comitia populi tributa (Assembly of the People) is made up of all citizens, grouped into their respective tribes. It is empowered to elect the quaestores and curule aediles, and to enact laws and to try legal cases that do not involve permanent removal of citizenship. The current law governing the comitia populi tributa is lex Cornelia de ratione comitiorum populi tributorum.

Casting a ballot

  1. Make sure you are familiar with our voting procedure.
  2. Carefully check the schedule published in the fora for the correct voting times for each comitia.
  3. Go to your Album Civium page. Make sure you are logged in via the box on the right of the screen.
  4. Click on "vote here...".
  5. Click on the "go vote" button.
  6. Cast your ballots.
  7. Make a note of your ballot number. You will need it if there are problems with your vote.

Vote counting

The officials that count the ballots in an election are called diribitores. Two other officials called custodes are responsible for certifying the tally of votes in elections as reported to them by the diribitores. They also break any ties among the centuries and tribes, and provide the results of elections to the magistrates presiding over the elections. Under current law, quaestores may be tasked to serve these functions if there are not enough elected diribitores or custodes.


Special thanks go to Quaestor Ti. Galerius Paulinus and Diribitor Q. Caecilius Metellus for their assistance in writing the original version of this article.

See Also

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