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partments, necessary; for, on this subject, the CHAP. III. Irish Elections Act (which, however, has no relation to Dublin University)' contains ample and explicit rules. Before, however, adverting


lin, Limerick,

to such of the rules as have a general application, In Belfast, may be convenient to specify those which are Cork, Dubpeculiar to the following places; namely, Bel- and Waterfast, Cork, Dublin, Limerick, and Waterford.

The constituencies in question, having been divided into municipal wards, each of which is a polling district, the Elections Act provides that, in the event of a poll being demanded, the Returning Officer must cause to be erected, provided, or hired, at, or near, the place where elections for his county are usually held, and not elsewhere, and within each ward-for the exclusive use of electors entitled to vote in respect of property therein3-a sufficient number of booths, compartments, or public buildings.* These booths, &c., may be of two kinds, and their number is thus regulated:



Where the freemen on the register exceed three hundred, there must be provided, for their exclusive use, such a number of booths, build- Freemen's ings, or compartments-to be called Freemen's booths, buildings, or compartments-as that not more than four hundred freemen shall be allotted to vote at each; and, so far as is compatible with that rule, all freemen, whose surnames begin with the same letter, are to vote at the same booth, building, or compartment. Where the freemen on the register do not exceed three hundred, they are to vote with the other electors, in such proportions as may be appointed, and notified, by the Returning Officer. The other Ward electors vote at what are called Ward-booths


1 13 & 14 Vic. c. 68, s. 17.

2 Ib. s. 5.

3 Ib. s. 9.

4 Ib. s. 19; ante, p. 49.

5 13 & 14 Vic. c. 68, s. 10.


CHAP. III. and these are to be erected, provided, or hired, in such numbers, that there shall not be allotted to poll, in any one of them, more than four hundred of the electors on the register of the ward within which it is situated.1

Freemen's booths in

cities, &c.

In the case of a poll being demanded, for a counties of county of a city, or of a town (except those which are included in the five constituencies just adverted to), if more than a thousand freemen appear on the register as capable of voting, the Returning Officer must provide, for their exclusive use, booths, or buildings, for polling in, separate and distinct from those provided for the freeholders.2

Statutable proportion of booths in

The Election's Act further provides, in respect to all other boroughs, that, on a poll being deother cases. manded, so many booths, or compartments, shall be provided, or public buildings hired, as that not more than four hundred electors shall be allotted to each; and that, so far as is compatible with that arrangement, all persons whose surnames begin with the same letter shall vote in the same booth, building, or compartment.3

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The remaining portions of the Act apply as well to the constituencies above mentioned, as to other boroughs. And it enacts, that, any candidate, or any elector, who proposes or seconds a candidate, may, on the day of nomination, at, or before, twelve o'clock at noon, require the Returning Officer to make such arrangements that not more than two hundred electors shall be allotted to poll in each booth, building, or compartment; the expense occasioned by this additional accommodation to be paid by the person, or persons, making the requisition. The same enactments as have already been described, under the head of preparations for Irish county elections, apply in borough

113 & 14 Vic. c. 68, s. 11.
2 4 Geo. IV. c. 55, s. 35.
13 & 14 Vic. c. 68, ss. 12, 19,

4 Ib. s. 13.

candidates or


elections to the outlay on booths, or places for CHAP. III. polling in; to the ultimate liabilities of candi- Ultimate dates, or their unauthorised proposers; to the liability of security to be given by the latter, in respect to such outlay; to the notices of the situation of the booths, and of the electors allotted to them ; to the certified copies of the register, for use at the poll;2 to the provision of a separate place, in which the Returning Officer may adjudicate questions; and to the Returning Officer's Staff; except that the poll-clerks are not sworn, and except some trifling differences affecting cities and towns, being counties in themselves, and which have already been mentioned, under their appropriate heads, in the foot-notes.

post of Re

Officer be


If a vacancy occurs in the post of Returning Officer, or if he is changed between his receipt Vacancy in of the precept and the day of election, it is turning doubtful whether a new precept is necessary. tween preIn the Dartmouth case, the House declined to cept and direct the Sheriff how to proceed under such circumstances. Arguing from the analogous case of a vacancy in the shrievalty between the writ and the day of election in English counties,5 it would seem advisable to issue a new precept to the succeeding Returning Officer, who would do well to confirm such of his predecessor's arrangements as have been lawfully made.


If a vacancy occurs in the shrievalty after the issue of the precept to the Returning Officer, Vacancy in and before the election, the latter ought, never- during same theless, to execute the precept, and to transmit period. the return to the new Sheriff, who, it seems, requires no new writ.6

13 & 14 Vic. c. 68, s. 19; 2 & 3 Will. IV. c. 83, s. 48; ante, pp. 47, 50.

2 13 & 14 Vict. c. 68, s. 20; ante, p. 50.

31 Geo. IV. c. 11, s. 7; 4 Geo. IV. c. 55, s. 40; ante, p. 50. 4 13 Com. J. 101; Rogers, 41; ante, p. 36.

5 Ante, p. 28.

6 Bridgenorth, 1 Com. J. 397; Dorchester, 11 ib. 300; R. v. Mayor of London, 9 B. & C. 1: Rogers, 40.






Nomination Day.] The proceedings at an election, when there is no contest, are comprised in what is called the nomination. When there is a contest, they are, of course, considerably extended.

On the day, and at the place, specified in his proclamation, or notice of election, the ReturnReading the ing Officer opens the proceedings by reading aloud, publicly (after silence has been proclaimed), the writ, or precept,1 by the immediate authority of which he holds the election.


Hour of nomination in English or


In other counties:

in Irish

The hour for this ceremony must, in the case of English or Welsh counties, be between eight Welsh coun- and eleven A.M., on pain of a fine on the Sheriff of a hundred pounds. In other counties throughout the United Kingdom, the hour is left to his discretion. In Irish counties of cities, or of towns, it must be some hour between ten a.m. and two P.M., to be specified in the notice of election. In all other cases, it must be the hour chosen by the Returning Officer, and is also to be so specified.*

counties of towns, &c.

In other cases:

Returning Officer's oath. In English and Welsh elections.

In an English or Welsh election, immediately after reading the writ, the Returning Officer must take, and subscribe, the following oath, which may be administered by any Justice or Justices of the Peace of the county, or borough, where the election takes place or, if no such Justice be present, by any three of the electors. An entry of the oath so taken must be made

1 Ante, p. 58.

223 Hen. VI. c. 14, s. 2; 1 Peck. 83.

3 Ante, p. 59.

4 Ante, pp. 29, 44, 59.

among the records of the sessions of the county CHAP. IV. or borough:1

I, A. B., do solemnly swear, that I have not, directly or indirectly, received any sum or sums of money, office, place, or employment, gratuity, or reward, or any bond, bill, or note, or any promise or gratuity whatsoever, either by myself, or any other person, to my use, or benefit, or advantage, for making any return at the present election of Members to serve in Parliament; and I will return such person or persons as shall, to the best of my judg ment, appear to me to have the majority of legal votes.


The form of oath to be taken by the Return- In Irish ing Officer in Irish elections, and the memorandum to be made of its being taken, have been considered in the last chapter. No oath need be taken by the Returning Officer in Scotch elections.3

to be read:

Welsh bo

In those English or Welsh boroughs (the Durham Act cities of London and Norwich excepted) where in what Engthe right of election is wholly, or in part, vested lish and in freemen, the Returning Officer must next read roughs. openly the Durham Act. It is observable that the Act enjoins the reading of itself "immeafter the reading of the Bribery Act" [2 Geo. II. c 24]; but the latter need no longer be read at all, being (with the exception of the 3rd section, and the penalties relating to the oath therein contained) repealed by the Corrupt Practices Prevention Act, 1854.5

bery Act at

At New Shoreham, Cricklade, or Aylesbury, Local Brithe Returning Officer must read, after the New ShoreDurham Act, the Bribery Act peculiar to the ham, Crick


12 Geo. II. c. 24, s. 3.

s. 37.

Ante, p. 52, 35 Geo. III. c. 29, s. 9; 4 Geo. IV. c. 55,

36 Geo. II. c. 24, s. 3.

43 Geo. III. c. 15, ss. 7, 8 (APPENDIX, p. xv); held not to apply to capital burgesses; 1 Peck. 400, note b; 2 Geo. II. c. 24, s. 9.

5 17 & 18 Vic. c. 102, s. 1; APPENDIX, p. xxvi.

lade, and Aylesbury.

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