The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 150
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
and the Supreme Court amendment was approved. But that was
not the end of the matter. Although it appeared that Davis had
largely alienated the support of such former associates as Morgan
C. Hamilton, then United States senator, and other radicals, he
nevertheless decided to appeal to the Federal authority to support
his claim to continuance in office. Davis asserted that the election
of December 2, 1873, was wholly void. While this claim was as-
serted prior to the date of decision, it was supported by the hold-
ing of the Supreme Court in Ex parte Rodriguez,19 which is gen-
erally referred to as the Semicolon case.
The basis of the claim of invalidity of the election was the
wording and punctuation of Article III, Section 6 of the Con-
stitution of 1869 which read as follows: "All elections for State,
district and county officers shall be held at the county-seats of the
several counties until otherwise provided by law; and the polls
shall be opened for four days from eight o'clock A.M. until four
o'clock P.M. of each day."
By an act of the legislature approved by Governor Davis on
March 31, 1873, county seat voting was abolished and it was pro-
vided that each justice precinct should constitute an election
precinct. The act also provided "That all the elections in the
State shall be for one day only at each election, and the polls
shall be open on that day from 8 o'clock A.M. to 6 o'clock P.M."
The term "provided by law" is generally construed as referring
to the legislative power and, accordingly, it would be supposed
that the constitutional method set forth would be effective only
until the legislature had acted. The particular constitutional pro-
vision contained two clauses; first, "All elections ... shall be
held at the county seats of the several counties," and, second,
"the polls shall be open for four days."
The question presented was whether the phrase "until other-
wise provided by law" applied to both or only the first of the
clauses contained in the constitutional provision.
The decision of the court was that it applied only to the first
clause and not to the second; that the legislature could abolish
county seat voting but could not change "four day" voting. The
basis of the decision was the presence of the phrase "until other-
xOTexas Reports, XXXIX, 70o6.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/192/: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.