The Counts are hereditary rulers whose families have long held position of an Imperial Elector. Over the centuries, the title of Count has passed from family to family as old dynasties withered away, intermarried or perished in battle. With the death of the Emperor, the Counts gather to choose one of their own number as successor. Hence, in addition to being Counts, they are also Electors of the new Emperor and for this reason their full title is more properly Elector Counts.