Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 12: Committee on the Election of the President, Vice President, and Representatives in Congress

Chapter 12. Records of the Administration Committee and Its Predecessors

Table of Contents

Records of the House Administration Committee and Its Predecessors from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 1789-1988

Committees discussed in this chapter:
Records of the Committee on the Election of the President, Vice President, and Representatives in Congress (1893-1946)

Jurisdiction and History

12.13 The standing Committee on the Election of the President, Vice President, and Representatives in Congress was established in 1893 with jurisdiction over legislation concerning the election of the officials enumerated in its title, including proposed changes to the Constitution that affected the terms of office of the named officials, the succession to the offices of the President and Vice President, the direct election of Senators, and the meeting times of Congress. The committee considered national election laws and their enforcement, including such topics as the disqualification of polygamists from election to Congress, the use of electric voting machines in congressional elections, the necessary and proper expenses related to nominations and elections, and the publication of campaign expenses. It was responsible for changes in the law regarding the electoral count and resolutions regulating the actual electoral vote count by the Senate and House of Representatives.

Records of the Committee on Election of the President, Vice President, and Representatives in Congress, 53d-79th Congresses (1893-1946)

Record TypeVolumeCongresses (Dates)
Minute Books 17 volumes 53d (1893-95), 58th-72d (1903-33)
Docket Books 11 volumes 53d (1893-95), 55th-56th (1897-1901), 58th-64th (1903-17), 72d (1931-33)
Petitions and Memorials 1 foot 53d-54th (1893-97), 56th-60th (1899-1909), 68th (1923-25), 71st (1929-31), 78th (1934-44)
Committee Papers 3 feet 53d-72d (1893-1933), 74th-76th (1935-41), 78th-79th (1943-46)
Bill Files 1 foot 58th-59th (1903-07), 67th-71st (1921-31), 73d-74th (1933-36), 76th-79th (1939-46)
Total5 feet and 28 volumes (2 ft.)  
Committee Records Summary Table

12.14 Minute books from most of the period between the formation of the committee and 1933 document meetings of the committee, referrals to subcommittees and activity regarding legislation. The minutes indicate that the committee met infrequently and dealt with a limited number of issues when it did meet. The docket books record petitions, memorials, bills, resolutions, and other papers that were referred to the committee. A survey of the minute and docket books provides an idea of the subjects that were referred to the committee, such as the direct election of senators and woman suffrage.

12.15 Petition and memorial files are not extensive, with the exception of the 1943-44 file, which contains over 7 inches of petitions on wartime voting (78A- H4). The most frequent subject of petitions during the early years of the committee (1893-1909) was the direct election of Senators. The petition file for 1907-08 includes the resolutions of the legislatures of 11 individual states and a Joint Resolution from 27 States calling for a convention to amend the Constitution respecting the direct election of Senators (60A-H8). 12.16 The only large accumulation of committee papers concerns absentee balloting by servicemen (78A-F9) during the United States involvement in World War II. The committee papers contain printed bills, resolutions, reports, hearings, and correspondence. Several unpublished transcripts of hearings are included concerning such subjects as campaign contributions (60A-F9); a four-year term for Representatives (63A-F7); and a constitutional amendment regarding nomination and election procedures (67A-D7).

12.17 After the 57th Congress legislative bill files are separate from the committee papers. The bill files are not extensive, although the 1943-44 files are swollen by material on wartime voting legislation (78A-D8).

Related Records

12.18 Before the establishment of the standing committee election issues were dealt with by select committees appointed to handle particular situations or legislation. There are records for select committees on:

  • Privileges, Powers and Duties of Congress in Electoral Vote Counting, 1875-77 (44A-F39.2)
  • Recent Elections in Florida, 1875-77 (44A-F39.4)
  • Alleged Frauds in the Late Presidential Election, 1877-79 (45A-F37.1)
  • Law Respecting the Election of the President and Vice President, 1883-85 (48A-F44.1)
  • Election of the President, Vice President, and Representatives in Congress, 1885-93 (49A- F39, 50A-F41, 51A-F44, 52A-F48)

Table of Contents

Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245). By Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.