Custos (Nova Roma)

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Classification of magistracies

Magistracy overview

The custodes are a type of election officials as defined in article II.C.1. of the lex Tullia de comitiis habendis. The Latin word "custos" means "guard" or "watcher" and in antiquity it was typical for very senior people such as senators and consulars to serve as custodes.

They are appointed by a 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 article III.A.7.c.ii of the lex Arria de censu civium aestimando, “4th rank Officials: Apparitor (accensus, scriba, praeco, lictor etc)”. Only assidui can be appointed, and the presiding magistrate is not allowed to occupy this office.

The duties of the custodes are:

  • To guard, supervise and certify the entire voting process, and to resolve ties which require a drawing of lots; and
  • To send the certified results of the comitia to the presiding magistrate.

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. 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 the diribitores need help in the counting, the rogatores and the custodes are allowed to assist. 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.

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