838.00Electoral Law/15: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Haiti ( Gross )

78. Your 119, September 17, 2 p.m. The Department wishes to render all possible assistance in conformity with President Borno’s desire to expedite the passage of the suggested amendments to the electoral law of 1919 so that the new provisions may go into effect in time for the elections of January 10, 1928. However, the Department is unable to give its opinion as to either the second or third paragraphs of your telegram as they leave the Department in doubt as to their meaning. Articles 18 and 25 of the law of 1919 seem to provide for exactly the things which you outline as a part of the new amendments.

  • Article 26. The Department feels that the suggested change is unnecessary inasmuch as the Transitory Provisions of the constitution take care of the present situation in a satisfactory manner. The electoral law it is felt should not be modified to meet temporary situations but with a view to permanence. The Department does not understand the proposed modification which “adds authority to amend the constitution”. The Constitution itself provides how it shall be amended and it would seem clear that this is not a matter which should be dealt with in the electoral law.
  • Article 51. See the Department’s comment contained in the second paragraph of its No. 74, September 16.
  • Article 62. The Department sees no objection to the proposed text down as far as the words “those who”. The remainder of the text seems to give to the local authorities during election times the right to throw an individual voter into prison for reasons which do not appear to be very substantial. The Department has confidence that in so far as the administration of President Borno is concerned every effort would be made to prevent a misuse of this authority but feels nevertheless that this part of the amendment should not be included in the text.