Page images

all be made over again. In county elections, he must cast up the votes without delay, and cause them to be publicly declared. And in all, unless he grants a scrutiny, he declares the election, according to the majority, either immediately or the day following, unless in London, and then within two days after the election. The poll when once declared cannot be revived.5 And though improperly closed by the returning officer, cannot be

revived by another person. Of a scrutiny : A scrutiny is defined—"a general re-consideration, by

the returning officer or others by him appointed, either of
the poll altogether, or the scrutinizing and maturely
examining the validity of particular votes so taken, or the
grounds of certain claims which have been respectively.
received or rejected at the poll, and amending the same,
by correcting or establishing the decisions so made, as
they may prove to have been erroneous or right.” The
returning officer is in no case, except in London,s bound
to grant a scrutiny; but is at liberty so to do, if demanded
(and the demand should be made either when the num-
bers are about to be declared or immediately thereupon)
by a candidate or two electors.10 It cannot be granted
after a proclamation of the majority, without an adjourn-
ment." In conducting it, bis decision (where more par-
ties than one object) is given alternately vote by vote.12
He has no power to force witnesses to attend for the pur-
poses of the scrutiny; though if they give their attend-
ance, he may, with their own consent, swear them to the
truth of their evidence.19 The scrutiny must be finished in
time for the return.14

In London, the proceedings, on a scrutiny, are specially

regulated by statute.15 Of granting a The returning officer is bound to grant, at a reasonable copy of the poll; price, a copy of the poll to any one

demanding it.16 And over the foll

in county elections, twenty days after the close, delivers over upon oath (administered by two magistrates) to the clerk of the peace, the poll-books, without alteration; or if there are more clerks than one, then the original to one clerk, and attested copies to the rest."7

In London.


1 Bedfordshire case.
2 28 G. 3. c. 36.
3 25 G. 3. c. 84.
4 11 G. I, c. 18.
5 Glanv. 71.
6 1 Dougl. 191.
7 Male 213.
8 11 G. 1. c. 18.

Male 218,

10 25 G. 3. c. 84. 11 17 Journ. 73. 12 25 G. 3. c. 84. 13 25 G. 3. c. 84. 14 25 G. 3. c. 84. 15 11 G. 1. c. 18. 16 7 & 8 W. 3. c. 25. s. 6. 17 10 Ann. c. 23.

The election being terminated by declaring the majo. Of the return. rity, the returning officer makes his return; to the sheriff, if the election was under a precept; into Chancery, if under a writ; by indenture under his own and the electors' seals, annexed to the writ or precept;' which return is filed and entered in statu quo by the clerk of the Crown.2 No other mode can be substituted ;; though a deviation may be set right by amendinent. And mere formal errors are of no moment.4

Where, from the right of election being doubtful, it is not clear what candidates are duly elected, the returning officer should make a double return ;5 to be afterwards discussed and amended by the House. A mistake in the Christian name of a party returned, and so likewise a false return, may be amended at the bar of the House.

The time for making the return is, in the case of a general election, and no scrutiny, forthwith; if a scrutiny, then not later than the return day. In the case of a vacancy, and no scrutiny, not later than fourteen?if a scrutiny, than thirty days from the close of the poll.10

The election is void in toto : 1. Where the original Election when writ has issued improperly.11 2. Where the candidates void in whole

or in part. are all ineligible.12 3. Where the election has been gained by trick or surprise.13 4. So where the petitioner and the sitting member consent that the election shall be set aside (and no collusion is suspected), it will be done.14 5. And (upon the like condition) where the sitting members decline to defend their election, the petitioners will be declared duly elected.15 6. Where only one of the elected is ineligible, bis election only is void.16 7. So bribery or treating avoids the election of the offender only. That bribery may avoid an election, a single instance 'is sufficient. 17 It must however occur after the warrant for issuing the writs, at a general election, has

1 7 H. 4. c. 15.
% 25 G. 3. c. 84.
3 Glanv. 137.
4 Ibid.
5 Male 232.
6 18 Journ.' 34. 38. 19 Journ. 64.

24 Journ. 56. 25 Journ. 463.

29 Journ, 52. 7 20 Journ. 46. 24 Journ. 18. 30

Journ. 466.

8 25 G. 3. c. 84. 9 10 & 11 W. 3. c. 7. 10 25 G. 3. c. 84. 11 8 Journ. 271. 258. 264. 12 20 Journ. 53. 60. 22 Journ. 819. 13 4 Inst. 49. Glanv. 19. 26. 68.76. 14 Sim. 189. 15 3 Lud. 138, 139. 16 20 Journ 53. 60. 22 Juurn, 819. 17 2 Dougl. 389.

been signed; and, on a particular vacancy, after the vacancy has fallen. So that a gift after the election closed, is not bribery. Unless, indeed, given in furtherance of an antecedent treaty.”


Of Petitions in Cases of Controverted Elections.

ed :

PETITIONS in cases of controverted elections, will, as more convenient, be considered in the present chapter,

though, in strict method, they belong to the next. Petition ;

A petition complaining of undue election or return, by whom sign- must be signed by some claimant as voter or candidate ;3

unless in Scotland, where the signature may be by one claiming to vote at the election of any delegate or com

missioner for choosing a burgess for the district in quesTime fixed and tion. Having been presented, the House appoint a day notice given of and hour for its consideration; of which the Speaker taking it into

gives the petitioners and sitting members, or their agents, consideration :

a written notice, accompanied with an order to attend.5 And where separate petitions are presented by several on distinct interests or grounds of complaint, this order and notice is given to each. In like manner, where no return is made to the writ-on calling a new parliament, by the return day—on a vacancy in an existing parliament, within fifty-two days after its date; or where the return is of special matters, instead of members pursuant to the requisition of the writ; any claįmant (whether to vote or be returned) thinking himself aggrieved, may petition the House; whereupon a similar notice and order is served upon the returning officer and himself;? or if the returning officer cannot be found, or refuses to appear, the House, as presently mentioned, may authorize

another to appear in his room. Time for taking After the lapse of fourteen days from bringing the reit into conside- turn into the Crowu-office, and not before, the petition

may be taken into consideration. And though a parti


1 2 Dougl. 137.
2 2 Dougl. 137.
3 28 G. 3. c. 52. s. l.
4 Ibid
5 10 G. 3. c. 16. s. l.

6 11 G. 3. c. 42. s. 1.
7 25 G. 3. c. 84. 8. 10.
8 25 G. 3. c. 84. s. 12. infra.
911 G. 3. c. 42. s. 2.


cular time may have been named for this purpose, yet the House may change it, giving to the parties a similar notice and order. If before the appointed day, the sit- Where sitting ting member vacates bis seat by death, election to the member vapeerage, or order of the House, or (by a written decla

or declines deration signed and delivered in at the table) notifies his fending. intention not to defend ; the Speaker (on receiving in the former cases a written certificate of the fact from two members) publishes the same as well in the next London Gazette as to the returning officer, who fixes a copy of the notice on the doors of the county or town hall, or of the parish church, nearest the place where the election has been usually held. Whereupon, if less than thirty days will intervene between the day of inserting notice in the Gazette, and that appointed for considering the petition; the time is adjourned, so as to allow of that interval.3 And any claimant to vote, may, upon petitioning within thirty days from such insertion, be admitted a party in the member's room. A member so declining to defend, not only can never be allowed; he can neither sit nor vote in the House, until the petition has been decided on.5

Within twenty-eight days in the case of an Irish peti- Recognisance tion, otherwise within fourteen,7 after the petition pre- by petitioners sented, or within such further time as the House may pearance. limit;8 the subscribers, or one of them, enter into a recognisance with sureties (before a magistrate, where the parties or sureties reside niore than forty miles from London, otherwise, before the Speaker?') for their appearance as well before the House at the time fixed for considering the petition, as before any select committee appointed for trying it, or until it has, by permission, been withdrawn ;' upon pain of baving the order for considering the petition discharged.12 The petition itself cannot be withdrawn, unless the member petitioned against dies or vacates his seat,13 or upon some event subsequent to presentation, specially stated and sworn to.14 And in case of the parties, 1. not appearing before the House within one hour after the time fixed for calling them in, for the purpose of appointing a select committee ; 2. or,

1 10 G. 3. c. 16. s. 3.
2 28 G. 3. c. 52. s. 2.
3 Ibid.
4 28 G. 3. c. 52, s. 3.
5 28 G. 3. c. 52. s. 4.
6 47 G.3.c. 14.

s. 8. 7 28 G. 3. c. 52. s. 5.

8 28 G. 3. c. 52. s.5. 9 28 G. 3. c. 52. s. 7. 10 28 G. 3, c. 52. s 6, 11 28 G.3, c. 52. s. 5, 12 Ibid. 13 28 G 3. e. 52. s. 8. 14 53 G. 3. c. 71,

before the committee itself; 3, or, neglecting to renew their petition within four sitting days after the commencement of every subsequent session, and until a committee is appointed, or the petition withdrawn; in either of these cases, the Speaker certifies the recognisance and default

into the Exchequer, whereby it becomes estreated." Recognisance Besides this recognisance, the subscribers to the petiby the peti- tion, one or more of them (upon pain of having the order tioners for cost and expenses.

for considering it discharged?) within fourteen days after petition presented, or within such farther time as the House may limit, enter (before the Speaker or a magistrate as aforesaid) into another recognisance with sureties (who if sufficient may be the same persons as in the other) for payment of witnesses summoned on behalf of the subscribers themselves, the clerks or officers of the House, and the party appearing in opposition to the petition, in either of these three events-1. failure in the subscribers to appear before the House at the time fixed for considering the petition ; 2. a withdrawing of the petition itself; 3. the committee reporting the petition to be

frivolous or vexatious,5 Lists of objec- The petitioners, moreover, and those that oppose them, to be delivered. must, in the case of petitions from Scotland, or from

English or Welsh counties, ten, and in other cases five days before the day appointed for considering the petition, (though if the consideration be postponed or renewed in another session, the time for reckoning back these periods is the appointment of the committee for trying the petition) deliver to the clerk of the House lists of the voters to be objected to, with the grounds of objection noted against each.6 Nor can any other grounds be opened before the committee. And if no evidence is adduced to substantiate an objection, and it is considered by the committee to be frivolous or vexatious, the objector (upon the committee's reporting the fact) must pay to his

opponent the costs thereby incurred.? Preparations Previous to the day appointed for taking the petition for the ballot for the Select into consideration, the names of the whole House, inCommittee. scribed upon separate labels of equal size, and rolled up

alike, are prepared by the clerk (or clerk-assistant,) and by him put into a box (or parcel) in the presence of the Speaker, together with the attestation signed by such

1 28 G. 3. c. 52. s. 9. 2 53 G. 3. c. 71. s. 3. 3 Ibid. 4 53 G. 3. c. 71.8. 6.

5 53 G. 3. c. 71. s. 3. 6 53 G. 3. c. 71. s. 1. 7 53 G. 3. c. 71. s. 2.

« PreviousContinue »