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affected the event of the election, would possibly avoid the election. The common course is, to make proclamation to the electors to proceed to the election. The candidates are then proposed and seconded in such order as the returning officer may choose. They then address the electors in the order of their nomination; and the vote is taken either by show of hands or by sound of voice, aye or no, or by dividing into separate bodies. There is no statutory direction on this point.
If there be no more candidates than vacancies, three proclamations for more candidates should be made at short intervals. The returning officer then declares the candidates to be duly elected.
The engrossment of the return is now produced and signed. In county elections it is in the form following“This Indenture, made in the full County of holden at
in and for the said county, on
the day of, in the —— year of the reign of our Sovereign Lady the Queen, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, and so forth, and in the year of our Lord 18between A. B., Sheriff of the said county, of the one part, and C. D., E. F., &c., and many other persons of the county aforesaid, and electors of knights to Parliament for
the said county, of the other part; “Witnesseth, that proclamation being made by the said sheriff by virtue of and according to a
writ of our Sovereign Lady the Queen, directed to the said sheriff, and hereunto annexed, for the electing of two knights, of the most fit and discreet of the said county, girt with swords, to serve in a certain Parliament to be holden at the City of Westminster, on the day of --, next ensuing : the said parties to these presents, together with the major part of the electors for the county aforesaid, present in the full county of at
aforesaid, on the day of the date hereof, by virtue of the said writ, and according to the force and effect of divers statutes in that case made, have in the said full county of
by unanimous assent and consent, freely and indifferently elected and chosen two Knights, of the most fit and discreet of the said county, girt with swords, to wit, —- of
and of Esquires, to be Knights to the said Parliament, so to be holden at the day and place in that behalf hereinbefore mentioned, for the commonalty of the county of --; giving and granting to the aforesaid knights full and sufficient power for themselves and the commonalty of the same county, to do and consent to those things, which, in the said Parliament, by the Common Council of the Kingdom of our said Lady the Queen, (by the blessing of God,) shall happen to be ordained upon the affairs in the said writ specified. In witness whereof, the parties to these presents have interchangeably put their hands and seals the day, year, and place first above written.”
The form of a return for a borough varies from the above, and is usually as follows
year of the
“This Indenture, made at the Guildhall of
the borough of S., in the county of-
the said borough — of the other part; “ Witnesseth, that by virtue of a writ of our sovereign Lady the Queen to the said mayor, directed and hereunto annexed, for the election of two burgesses for the said borough, to serve in the Parliament to be holden at the City of Westminster on the
next ensuing (notice being first given of the day and place as by the statute in such case made and provided is directed) they, the commonalty of the said borough, and others interested in the said election, according to the tenor of the said writ, have elected and chosen E. F. and G. H., Esquires, to be burgesses to serve for the said borough: And do hereby give and grant to the said burgesses so chosen full power and authority for themselves and the commonalty of the said borough to do and consent to those things which at the said Parliament, by the Common Council of the realm (by the blessing of God) shall happen to be ordained. In witness whereof the said mayor to one part of these Indentures hath set his seal of office; and to the other part the said C. D. and E. F.,
and others of the commonalty and electors of the said borough have set their hands the day and year first above written.”
The return should be made at once. In some places there has been a habit of opening a formal poll, and polling forty electors. This is an important injury to the candidates, since it seems to be well-established election law, that at any time while the poll is open a new candidate may be nominated. In the Nottingham case, reported in 1 Peckwell's Election Cases, 77, the Committee resolved “that John Allen, being the returning officer, acted contrary to his duty in opening a poll and proceeding to take votes for about half an hour, and until forty electors had polled, there being during that time no third candidate.”
But as it is not universally the case that an election is concluded in this happy and unanimous fashion, some candidates will think it necessary to be prepared for all those engines of opposition, whereof the law has good store, which hostile lawyers can bring into play.
Declaration of Qualification. — At any time after the nomination, and before the return day of the writ, any candidate, or any two registered electors who retain their right of voting, may request the competing candidate to declare his qualification, and if this request is not complied with within twenty-four hours, the election of the candidate is void.
This is a matter of so great importance, that it may be useful to have the words of the statute before us. It depends upon the 3d, 4th, and 5th sections of the “ Qualification Act,” 1 and 2 Vic. C. 48. And the enactment is as follows:
“Every candidate at any election of a member or members to serve in Parliament for any county, riding, part, or division of a county, city, borough, or cinque port, as aforesaid, shall, upon a reasonable request made to him at the time of such election, or at any time before the day named in the writ of summons for the meeting of Parliament, by or on behalf of any candidate at such election, or by any two or more registered electors having a right to vote at such election, make and subscribe a declaration to the purport or effect following, such request to be in writing, and signed by the candidate or the said two or more electors, (that is to say,)
“I, A. B., do solemnly and sincerely declare, that I am, to the best of my knowledge and belief, duly qualified to be elected as a member of the House of Commons, according to the true intent and meaning of the act passed in the second year of the reign of Queen Victoria, intituled An Act to amend the Laws relating to the Qualification of Members to serve in Parliament,' and that my qualification to be so elected doth arise out of [here let the party state the nature of his qualification, as the case may be ; if the same ariseth out of lands, tenements, or hereditaments, let him state the barony or baronies, parish or parishes, township or townships, precinct or precincts, and also the county or counties, in which such lands, tenements, or hereditaments are situate, and also the estate in the said lands, tenements, or hereditaments, or in the rents or profits thereof, of or to which he is seised or en