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CHAP. III. gether of the duty of superintending the elecMay appoint tion; except, perhaps, where the booths are situated "in different places;" when the Returning Officer may appoint a deputy to preside "at each place." 1


when booths

are apart.

May appoint
clerks, in

what cases.


his staff re

Nor may he, like the Sheriff, appoint checkclerks, except in an election for a city or town, being a county of itself, or except in any case where the number of electors exceeds six hundred.3

In other respects, the officers to be appointed sembles that by him are the same, and subject to the same of the Sheriff. enactments, as in the case of the Sheriff's staff in county elections.4

Vacancy in
post of
Officer be-

tween writ

It only remains to consider the case of a vacancy in the post of a Returning Officer, after his receiving the writ, and before the election. and election. The same question here arises as in the case of a vacancy occurring in the shrievalty, during the same period, in a county election-namely, whether a new writ is necessary.5 It is observable that, in the Dartmouth case, decided at a time when the Returning Officer acted under the Sheriff's precept, instead of under the writ, the House declined to direct the Sheriff how to proceed in the matter.6 Perhaps the statute already referred to,7 which provides for the case of the Returning Officer's post being vacant when the writ is issued, may be construed so as to reach the case of a vacancy occurring after the writ has been received by him. If so, no new writ would be necessary, but the Sheriff of the shire would become Returning Officer of the borough pro hac vice. A doubt may, perhaps, be raised on this head in consequence of the

1 2 Will. IV. c. 45, s. 68.

2 19 Geo. II. c. 28, s. 6.

39 Geo. IV. c. 59, s. 1; Rogers, 26.

Ante, pp. 24--27.

5 Ib. P. 28.

613 Čom. J. 101.

7 17 & 18 Vic. c. 57; ante, p. 14.

words of the preamble, which states that the CHAP. III. statute is meant to meet the case of "there being no person qualified to receive" the writ. But there seems to be no good reason for restricting the operations of the Act to that one contingency.


In Scotch Counties.] The preparations for an Sheriff's proelection in a Scotch county are made by the Sheriff, who must proclaim the election beforehand, according to the same form as is prescribed in English counties.1 The day to be Time of appointed by him in the proclamation for the election: election may be any day not sooner than six (in Orkney and Shetland, not sooner than twelve),2 nor later than twelve, days after his receipt of the writ.3 The place of election, to be notified Place of in his proclamation, must be the county town; but the Scotch Reform Act has specially provided, that in Clackmannan and Kinross, the place to be so notified shall be the town of Dollar; in Elgin and Nairn, the town of Forres; and, in Ross and Cromarty, the town of Dingwall.4


and how

The proclamation must be made within three Proclamadays after the receipt of the writ.5 The rules as tion, when to the mode, and hours, of publication are the published. same as in English county elections. Written, or printed, copies of the proclamation must be affixed on the doors of all the parish churches within the county; except in the islands of North Uist, South Uist, Barra, Harris or Eig (county of Inverness); of Lewis (county of Ross); of Tiree, Coll, or Gigha (county of Argyle); and except such parts of the county

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CHAP. III. of Orkney and Shetland as are not on the mainland.' The Sheriff may also, if he thinks it advisable, publish his proclamation in the newspapers most circulated in the county.

Issue of

ney and


In the county of Orkney and Shetland, the cept in Ork- Sheriff of Orkney, who is Returning Officer, must, in addition to making proclamation in the manner above described, within twenty-four hours of receiving the writ, forward a precept to the Sheriff Substitute in Shetland, notifying the day appointed for the election; whereupon the latter officer is required, without delay, to announce such day by notices on the church doors.3

Preparations for a contest:

Pollingplaces and districts.


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Such are all the preparations necessary where no contest is anticipated. "At any contested election, runs a recent statute, "the Sheriff shall, if required by any of the candidates, on or before the nomination day, direct two or more booths, compartments, halls, rooms, or other places for polling, to be provided at each pollingplace," that is to say, at each of the places set apart for polling, in the appointed polling-districts of the county.5 It might perhaps be argued, that the words "contested election" must here mean any election at which the seats to be filled are fewer than the persons who have, since the receipt of the writ, announced their intention to stand; that the word "candidates" must designate such persons; and that the construction put by the Court of Exchequer, on these words, in the English Reform Act-viz., that they mean an election at which a poll is demanded is excluded by the provision that the requisition in question may be made not

1 2 & 3 Will. IV. c. 65, s. 43.

2 lb. s. 28.

3 Ib. s. 31.

4 16 Vic. c. 28, s. 4.

52 & 3 Will. IV. c. 65, s. 27; 16 Vic. c. 28, ss. 2, 3. 6 Muntz v. Sturge, 8 M. & W. 302; ante, p. 2..

merely "on," but "before," the nomination day before, that is to say, the time for demanding a poll arrives.


Were this argument, however, to stand good, some inconvenience would follow; for it is observable that the enactment makes no regulations as to the limit of the expense to be so incurred, nor even as to who is to defray it. So that, in the case of two candidates on a single vacancy, one of them might require booths to be erected, and then retire, before the nomination day; thus compelling an expenditure which his own act was to render superfluous, and which he would not share. Nay, even assuming that the words " on or before the day of nomination" apply to the Sheriff's directions, as well as to the candidate's requisition, this would only enable the Sheriff to postpone compliance with the previous request till the nomination day arrived; when he would be obliged to obey, after the absurdity of obedience had become apparent, from no poll having been demanded. The case, indeed, may not soon arise; because the Sheriff would seldom omit, on such a requisition being made before the nomination day, to urge upon the candidate the propriety of an demanded undertaking as to the expense; nor is any bonâ nation. fide candidate likely to damage his fair fame among the electors by refusing so reasonable a demand.

as to cost of
booths, when
they are

before nomi

booths unless


It is to be noticed, that there is no enactment Sheriff may enabling the Sheriff to provide booths or other not erect places for polling in, even at a contested election, required by a unless he is "required" so to do "by any of the candidates." By the Scotch Reform Act, if he be so required after a poll has been demanded, he must direct two or more booths,

1 2 & 3 Will. IV. c. 65, s. 29.

This proviso, as to a poll being demanded, is inserted here, on the assumption that the construction of the

Pollingplaces and districts.

CHAP. III. halls, rooms, or other places for polling in, to be provided at each "polling-place;" that is, at each of those places which were appropriated, in 1832, in the proportion of one a-piece, for the various polling "districts" into which the Sheriffs then divided their counties, under the powers given them by the Scotch Reform Act.1 No poll can, however, be taken at any inn, hotel, tavern, public-house, or other premises Public houses licensed for the sale of beer, wine, or spirits; &c., cannot be hired for or in any booth, hall, or room, or other place polling in, directly communicating therewith, unless by conexcept by sent of all the candidates expressed in writing.? consent of the canIf the candidates can agree as to the terms, then didates. If booths re- the hire, construction, or preparation of the quired by a booths, or places, for polling in, must be effected candidates by contract with themselves. If they cannot to be jointly the Sheriff Clerk is to make the necessary agree, arrangements, for which the candidates will be jointly and equally liable; or, if either of them be proposed without his own consent, his proBut not be- poser will be liable in his stead. But, in case yond £30 for of such non-agreement, the Sheriff Clerk is not each pollingto expend more than thirty pounds, under the above heads, in any one "polling-place."

candidate, all

liable for



Interval be

nation and


In England, as has been seen, the Sheriff may, tween nomi- and often must, take upon himself the respon sibility of directing booths, or places, for polling in, to be prepared before the nomination day; assured of being recouped if a poll should ultimately be demanded. In Scotland there is no necessity for such early preparations; because

words "contested election," and "candidate," in the corresponding clause of the English Reform Act, laid down in Muntz v. Sturge (Ante, p. 23), would be adopted by the Scotch Courts.

1 2 & 3 Will. IV. c. 65, s. 27.

2 16 Vic. c. 28, s. 4.

2 & 3 Will. IV. c. 65, s. 40.
Ante, p. 23.

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