« EelmineJätka »
same year, have paid all the rates which became payable up to the preceding 5th January. We may add to the foregoing remarks, that a person once entered on the register need, as a rule, make no fresh claim for any succeeding year, so long as the nature of his qualification and his place of abode remain the same (o); but in the case of a lodger the claim to be registered is an essential part of the qualification, and accordingly a fresh claim must be made every year (p).
Such is the substance of the present law with respect to the qualification of electors for counties and for boroughs generally considered ; and it remains only to notice certain electoral incapacities and restrictions. And first, no vote can be given by any woman (9); nor by any but a man of full age (r), not subject to any legal incapacity, such, for example, as arises from being a lunatic, idiot, or outlaw in a criminal suit (s), or from having been convicted of felony (t), bribery, treating, or undue influence at any election (u). Secondly, no person can vote in right of any estate conveyed to him for the purpose of conferring the franchise, if made subject to a condition for defeating the conveyance when that object is accomplished; and any person who executes or prepares the conveyance, or gives his vote under it, is made liable to forfeit 401. (v). Thirdly,
(0) Parliamentary Voters Regis. tration Act, 1843, ss. 5, 6, 79.
(p) Hersant v. Halse (1886), 18 Q. B. D. 412.
(9) See Representation of the People Act, 1832; Chorlton v. Lings (1868), L. R. 4 C. P. 374. Women may vote in Municipal Elections (Municipal Corpora. tions Act, 1882, s. 63); also in County Council Elections (Local Government Act, 1888, s. 2); also in Parish Council Elections (in respect of occupation, but not in respect of ownership) (Drax v.
Ffooks,  1 Q. B. 238; Local
(r) 7 & 8 Will. 3(1696), c. 25, s. 8.
(*) Rogers, Elect. (15th ed.), pp. 171, 186.
(t) But a pardon, or the endurance of the punishment, restores competency. (See Rogers, p. 180.) Secus, as to convict with ticket of leave. (See Penal Servitude Act, 1864.)
(u) Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act, 1883, ss. 6, 10.
(v) Elections (Fraudulent Conveyances) Act, 1711, s. 1.
only one person can be admitted to vote in respect of the same house or tenement (w). But this is only when a splitting of interests is made for election purposes, and in order to multiply votes, as by the creation of “faggot votes”; and the restriction consequently extends not to cases of bonâ fide joint occupation or tenancy, nor to cases where there is a division by operation of law, as in descents (y), nor to the lodger franchise conferred by the Representation of the People Act, 1867, nor to the household qualification conferred by the Representation of the People Act, 1884. Fourthly, no peer, other than an Irish peer actually elected to the House of Commons, can be allowed to vote at any election (2). Fifthly, no metropolitan police magistrate can vote within his jurisdiction (a). Sixthly, no person may be registered in any year as a voter in the election for a county (b), city, or borough, who shall, within the twelve calendar months next previous to the 15th day of July in that year, have received parochial
(x) 7 & 8 Will. 3 (1696), c. 25, s. 7 ; the Parliamentary Elections Act, 1813. The practice of split. ting votes for election purposes was not in modern times viewed with jealousy (Rogers, Elect. p. 202); but “faggot votes” have now been effectually abolished by the Representation of the People Act, 1884, s. 4.
(z) See Rogers, Elect. p. 186; 13 Com. Journ. 14 December, 1699. This point was again so decided by the Common Pleas in the year 1872, on a claim to vote advanced by Lord Beauchamp. See Eurl Beauchamp 1. Orerseers of Madrerfield (1872), L. R. 8 C. P. 245.
(a) Metropolitan Police Courts Act, 1839, s. 6. There used to be a similar incapacity attaching to
members of the metropolitan police force (Metropolitan Police Act, 1828, s. 18); to the police of the city of London (2 & 3 Vict. c. xciv. s. 7), and to the rural police (County Police Act, 1839, s. 9). But all these incapacities have now been removed by the Police Disabilities Removal Act, 1887. At one time, all persons employed in the collection or management of the rerenues of the Crown were also disqualified ; but the enactments on this subject were repealed by 31 & 32 Vict. (1868), c. 73, and 37 & 38 Vict. (1874), c. 22.
(6) Representation of the People Act, 1867, s. 40. Prior to this enactment, disqualification by reason of the receipt of parochial relief, did not apply in the case of a county voter.
relief, or disqualifying alms (c). Seventhly, no person can vote at a county election in right of freehold, copyhold, or leasehold premises, the occupation of which would, either separately or jointly with land occupied therewith, confer a vote, in respect of the representation of any parliamentary borough under the Representation of the People Act, 1832, s. 27 (d); and this whether the right to vote for such borough, in respect of such building, shall have been actually acquired or not. But this must now be understood only of such boroughs as are not thrown into any “parliamentary county” (e).
2. As to the qualification of the ELECTED.-As regards the persons to be elected members of the house of commons, there are certain disqualifications, some of which depend upon the law and custom of parliament, declared by the house of commons itself, while others depend upon particular statutes ($); and, again, some are in respect of personal incapacity or misconduct, and others in respect of holding some office or employment considered to be incompatible with a seat in parliament.
And first, among those who are disqualified in respect of personal incapacity are English and Scotch peers (9) ; infants (h),-a disqualification not infrequently disregarded before the Reform Act, 1832, although made statutory in
(c) Representation of the People Act, 1832, s. 36 ; Parliamentary and Municipal Registration Act, 1878, ss. 7, 12. As to the nature of the alms the reception of which disqualifies, see R. v. Halesworth (1832), 3 B. & Ad. 717, and Harrison v. Carter (1876), 2 C. P. D. 26 ; Case of the Borough of Hedon, 25 Com. Journ. 275. Medical relief is no longer a dis. qualification (Medical Relief Dis. qualification Removal Act, 1885).
(d) Chorlton v. Johnson (1868), L. R. 4 C. P. 426.
(e) Representation of the People Act, 1832, ss. 24, 25.
(f) 1 Bl. Com. p. 175 ; 4 Inst. 47, 48.
(9) But an Irish peer is eligible, unless he has been previously elected to serve in the House of Lords as a representative peer (The Union with Ireland Act, 1800, Art. 4).
(h) l'ide sup. p. 394, note (r).
1696 (*),—women (k), lunatics, and idiots (1); persons who have been convicted of treason or felony, or have been outlawed in a criminal prosecution (m)—it will be observed that this does not apply to persons convicted of misdemeanours, but in such cases the house may resort to its power of expulsion ;—and formerly notorious atheists would also appear to have been disqualified, but this can no longer be considered to be the case since the Oaths Act, 1888 (n). As regards lunatics, the house of commons would not vacate a seat for lunacy except it were incurable ; but now, by the Lunacy (Vacating of Seats) Act, 1886, it is provided that any member of the house of commons becoming a lunatic and being received into an asylum or house for lunatics may be visited by the Lunacy Commissioners and examined and, after six calendar months, again visited and examined by them ; and if they report on each occasion that he is or continues a lunatic, his seat thereupon becomes vacant. Also, under the Corrupt Practices Act, 1883, any candidate reported by the election court to have known of and consented to the commission of corrupt practices other than undue influence or treating at an election, or found guilty of treating or undue influence, is disqualified from serving in the house of commons for the period of seven years, and from serving at any time for the constituency in question (o). Under the law of bankruptcy, when any member of the house of commons was adjudged bankrupt under the Bankruptcy Act, 1869, he was thereby incapacitated for the space of one year from sitting or voting, unless the order of adjudication was
(i) Cf. the cases of Charles James Fox and Lord John Russell (7 & 8 Will. III., c. 25, s. 8).
(k) Beresford-Hope v. Lady Sandhurst (1889), 23 Q. B. D. 79.
(l) Com. Journ. 1623, 1625 ; Com. Dig. Parliament, D. 9; Sheph. Elect. 109.
(m) Rogers, Elect. (17th ed.), vol. ii. p. 31; Forfeiture Act, 1870, s. 2.
(n) Att.-Gen. v. Bradlaugh (1885), 14 Q. B. D. 667.
(0) Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act, 1883, ss. 4, 6. See p. 411, infra.
annulled, or his creditors were fully paid or satisfied ; and if at the expiration of such period the order was not annulled or his debts were not paid, his seat became vacant (p). But now, under the Bankruptcy Act, 1883, a debtor adjudged bankrupt cannot be elected to, or sit or vote in the house of commons, unless and until his adjudication is annulled, or unless he obtains his discharge, together with a certificate that his bankruptcy was caused by misfortune, and not by misconduct (9).
Secondly, among the offices and occupations or employments which incapacitate for a seat in parliament, and which are too numerous for complete enumeration in this work, we may specify the following persons who are disqualified on this ground :-judges of the superior courts in England (r), or Ireland (s), or of the Court of Session or Exchequer in Scotland (t); judges of the English county courts (u); officers of any court having jurisdiction in bankruptcy (v); clergy of the Established Church of England (unless they have renounced their orders under the Clergy Disabilities Act, 1870), or ministers of the Scottish Church, or of the Church of Rome (.x); metropolitan police magistrates (y); and (within their respective jurisdictions) sheriffs of counties, returning officers of
(p) Ex parte Pooley, In re Rusxell (1872), L. R. 7 Ch. App. 519.
(9) Sect. 32.
(r) Com. Journ. 9th Nov. 1605; Judicature Act, 1875, s. 5.
(8) Supreme Court of Judicature (Ireland) Act, 1877, s. 13.
(t) Parliamentary Elections (Scotland) Act, 1733, s. 4.
(u) County Courts Act, 1888, 8. 8.
(T) Bankruptcy Act, 1883, s. 116.
(x) House of Commons (Clergy Disqualification) Act, 1801, s. 4; Roman Catholic Relief Act, 1829, 8. 9. Upon the controverted
question as to the eligibility of clergymen prior to the House of Commons (Clergy Disqualification) Act, 1801, Blackstone inclined to the negative, assigning as the reason that the beneficed clergy are represented in convocation. But this reason, as has been justly remarked, is not satisfactory ; and the authorities were on the whole in favour of their eligibility. (Case of the Borough of Newport (1785), 2 Luder, 269.)
(y) Metropolitan Police Act, 1829, s. 18; 3 & 4 Will. 4 (1833), c. 19, s. 19.