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namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
Sec. 2. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.
Sec. 3. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection and security of the people, nation or community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best, which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration; and, whenever any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.
Sec. 4. That no man, or set of men, is entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the community, but in consideration of public services; which not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator or judge to be hereditary.
Sec. 5. That the legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the State should be separate and distinct; and that the members thereof may be restrained from oppression, by feeling and participating the burthens of the people, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, return into that body from which they were originally taken, and the vacancies be supplied by regular elections, in which all or any part of the former members shall be again eligible, or ineligible, as the laws may direct.
Sec. 6. That all elections ought to be free; and that all men, having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to, the community, have the right of suffrage, and cannot be taxed, or deprived of, or damaged in, their property for public uses, without their own consent, or that of their representatives duly elected, or bound by any law to which they have not, in like manner, assented for the public good.
Sec. 7. That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised.
Sec. 8. That no man shall be deprived of his life, or liberty, except by the law of the land, or the judgment of his peers; nor shall any man be compelled in any criminal proceeding to give evidence against himself, nor be put twice in jeopardy for the same offence, but an appeal may be allowed to the Commonwealth in all prosecutions for the violation of a law relating to the state revenue.
That in all criminal prosecutions a man hath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence in his favor, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty; provided, however, that in any criminal case, upon a plea of guilty, tendered in person by the accused, and with the consent of the attorney for the Commonwealth, entered of record, the court shall, and in a prosecution for an offence not punishable by death, or confinement in the penitentiary, upon a plea of not guilty, with the consent of the accused, given in person, and of the attorney for the Commonwealth, both entered of record, the court, in its discretion, may hear and determine the case, without the intervention of a jury; and, that the General Assembly may provide for the trial of offences not punishable by death, or confinement in the penitentiary, by a justice of the peace, without a jury, preserving in all such cases, the right of the accused to an appeal to and trial by jury in the circuit or corporation court; and may also provide for juries consisting of less than twelve, but not less than five, for the trial of offences not punishable by death, or confinement in the penitentiary, and may classify such cases, and prescribe the number of jurors for each class.
Sec. 9. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Sec. 10. That general warrants, whereby an officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offence is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted.
Sec. 11. That no person shall be deprived of his property without due process of law; and in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, trial by jury is preferable to any other, and ought to be held sacred; but the General Assembly may limit the number of jurors for civil cases in circuit and corporation courts to not less than five in cases now cognizable by justices of the peace, or to not less than seven in cases not so cognizable.
Sec. 12. That the freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments; and any citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right.
Sec. 13. That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as da ngerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
Sec. 14. That the people have a right to uniform government; and, therefore, that no government separate from, or independent of, the government of Virginia, ought to be erected or established within the limits thereof.
Sec. 15. That no free government, or the blessing of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.
Sec. 16. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity towards each other.
Sec. 17. The rights enumerated in this Bill of Rights shall not be construed to limit other rights of the people not therein expressed.
ELECTIVE FRANCHISE AND QUALIFICATIONS FOR OFFICE.
Sec. 18. Every male citizen of the United States, twenty-one years of age, who has been a resident of the State two years, of the county, city, or town one year, and of the precinct in which he offers to vote, thirty days, next preceding the election in which he offers to vote, has been registered, and has paid his state poll taxes, as hereinafter required, shall be entitled to vote for members of the General Assembly and all officers elective by the people; but removal from one precinct to another, in the same county, city or town shall not deprive any person of his right to vote in the precinct from which he has moved, until the expiration of thirty days after such removal.
Sec. 19. There shall be general registrations in the counties, cities and towns of the State during the years nineteen hundred and two and nineteen hundred and three at such times and in such manner as may be
prescribed by an ordinance of this Convention. At such registrations every male citizen of the United States having the qualifications of age and
residence required in section Eighteen shall be entitled to register, if he
First. A person who, prior to the adoption of this Constitution, served in time of war in the army or navy of the United States, of the Confederate States, or of any state of the United States or of the Confederate States; or, Second. A son of any
person; or, Third. A person, who owns property, upon which, for the year next preceding that in which he offers to register, state taxes aggregating at least one dollar have been paid; or,
Fourth. A person able to read any section of this Constitution submitted to him by the officers of registration and to give a reasonable explanation of the same; or, if unable to read such section, able to understand and give a reasonable explanation thereof when read to him by the officers.
A roll containing the names of all persons thus registered, sworn to and certified by the officers of registration, shall be filed, for record and preservation, in the clerk's office of the circuit court of the county, or the clerk's office of the corporation court of the city, as the case may be. Persons thus enrolled shall not be required to register again, unless they shall have ceased to be residents of the State, or become disqualified by section Twenty-three. Any person denied registration under this section shall have the right of appeal to the circuit court of his county, or the corporation court of his city, or to the judge thereof in vacation.
Sec. 20. After the first day of January, nineteen hundred and four, every male citizen of the United States, having the qualifications of age and residence required in section Eighteen, shall be entitled to register, provided :
First. That he has personally paid to the proper officer all state poll taxes assessed or assessable against him, under this or the former Constitution, for the three years next preceding that in which he offers to register; or, if he come of age at such time that no poll tax shall have been assessable against him for the year preceding the year in which he offers to register, has paid one dollar and fifty cents, in satisfaction of the first year's poll tax assessable against him; and,
Second. That, unless physically unable, he make application to register in his own hand-writing, without aid, suggestion, or memorandum, in the presence of the registration officers, stating therein his name, age, date and place of birth, residence and occupation at the time and for the two years next preceding, and whether he has previously voted, and, if so, the state, county, and precinct in which he voted last; and,
Third. That he answer on oath any and all questions affecting his qualifications as an elector, submitted to him by the officers of registration, which questions, and his answers thereto, shall be reduced to writing, certified by the said officers, and preserved as a part of their official records.
Sec. 21. Any person registered under either of the last two sections, shall have the right to vote for members of the General Assembly and all officers elective by the people, subject to the following conditions:
That he, unless exempted by section Twenty-two, shall, as a prerequisite to the right to vote after the first day of January, nineteen hundred and four, personally pay, at least six months prior to the election, all state vpoll taxes assessed or assessable against him, under this Constitution, during the three years next preceding that in which he offers to vote; provided that, if he register after the first day of January, nineteen hundred and four, he shall, unless physically unable, prepare and deposit his ballot without aid, on such printed form as the law may prescribe; but any voter registered prior to that date may be aided in the preparation of his ballot by such officer of election as he himself may designate.
Sec. 22. No person who, during the late war between the States, served in the army or navy of the United States, or the Confederate States, or any state of the United States, or of the Confederate States, shall at any time be required to pay a poll tax as a prerequisite to the right to register or vote. The collection of the state poll tax assessed against any one shall not be enforced by legal process until the same has become three years past due.
Sec. 23. The following persons shall be excluded from registering and voting: Idiots, insane persons, and paupers; persons who, prior to the adoption of this Constitution, were disqualified from voting, by conviction of crime, either within or without this State, and whose disabilities shall not have been removed; persons convicted after the adoption of this Constitution, either within or without this State, of treason, or of any felony, bribery, petit larceny, obtaining money or property under false pretences, embezzlement, forgery, or perjury; persons who, while citizens of this State, after the adoption of this Constitution, have fought a duel with a deadly weapon, or sent or accepted a challenge to fight such duel, either within or without this State, or knowingly conveyed a challenge, or aided or assisted in any way in the fighting of such duel.
Sec. 24. No officer, soldier, seaman, or marine of the United States army or navy shall be deemed to have gained a residence as to the right of suffrage, in the State, or in any county, city own thereof, by reason of being stationed therein; nor shall an inmati ve any charitable institu