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other mark of distinction (e); as also the providing of refreshment to any voter on the day of nomination or of polling, on account of his having polled or being about to poll (f). And it further enacted, that all payments made on any such account, or on account of any chairing, bands of music, flags, or banners, should be deemed illegal payments within the Act (g). With a view to the more effectual prevention of all illegal payments, the Act provided also for the annual appointment of certain officers, called election auditors (h), to whom was committed the duty of taking and publishing the accounts of all expenses incurred at elections (i). And no payment in respect of any election, or the expenses thereof, was to be made by, or by authority of, any candidate, except by or through the election auditor for such election (k) ; any payment that was otherwise made being declared illegal (1). These enactments, with the substitution of election agent for election auditors, are substantially maintained in the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act, 1883, presently to be mentioned.
Secondly, the Representation of the People Act, 1867, declared it to be bribery, if any person should, directly or
(e) Sect. 7.
(g) Sect. 7. So also, by the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act, 1883, s. 7, payment of any money on account of the conveyance of any roter to or from the poll, whether for hiring of horses or carriages, or for railway fares, or otherwise, is made an illegal practice ; and it may even amount to bribery. See as to such expenses, Cooper v. Slade (1858), 6 H. L. C. 746 ; Simpson v. Yeend (1869), L. R. 4 Q. B. 626. And as toemployers of labourallow ing their workmen and employees leave of absence to vote, without
deducting from their wages for loss of time, see the Parliamentary Elections (Corrupt Practices) Act, 1885.
(h) 21 & 22 Vict. (1858), c. 87, ss. 2, 4.
(0) Corrupt Practices Prevention Act, 1854, ss. 26–28 ; R. v. Griffiths (1857), 7 El. & BI. 952; Edvards v. Whitehurst (1860), 5 H. & N. 131.
(1) Vurton v. Dickson (1860), 5 H. & N. 637.
(1) Corrupt Practices Prevention Act, 1854, s. 18; and as to who is a “candidate," see the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act, 1883, s. 63.
indirectly, corruptly pay any rate on behalf of a ratepayer, for the purpose of enabling him to be registered as a voter, thereby to influence his vote at any future election ; or should, directly or indirectly, pay any such rate on the voter's behalf for the purpose of inducing him to vote or refrain from voting (m).
Thirdly, the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act, 1883, has adopted the definition of bribery contained in the Acts of 1854 and 1868, and has extended the provisions against treating and undue influence contained in the Corrupt Practices Prevention Act, 1854, to persons other than the candidate or candidates (n); and a corrupt practice is, by the Act, made to extend to and include treating and undue influence, bribery, and personation, and aiding or assisting therein, or counselling the same (o). Further, the Act declares the following to be illegal practices, namely, (1) payments or contracts to pay, for or on account of the conveyance of electors, or to any elector on account of the use of any premises for the exhibition of bills, notices, and the like, or on account of any use, in excess of the permitted use, of committeerooms (p); (2) payments made or expenses incurred in excess of the maximum election expenses and of the payments specified in the first schedule to the Act (9); (3) subornation of voters ; (4) false statements as to withdrawal of any candidate or candidates (r); any corrupt withdrawal of candidates (s) ; (5) payments for ribbons, cockades, and the like (t); (6) paid employment of agents, other than the election agent and sub-agent and polling agent or agents mentioned in the first schedule to the Act (u) ; (7) printing and publishing bills and the like,
(m) Representation of the People Act, 1867, s. 49.
(n) Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act, 1883, ss. 1, 2.
(0) Sect. 3.
(9) Sect. 8.
without the name and address of the printer and publisher (x); (8) using as committee-room any premises whereon intoxicating liquors or refreshments are ordinarily sold or provided, or any elementary school premises (y). Lastly, under the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act, 1895, any false statements of fact, in relation to the personal character or conduct of either candidate, are to be deemed “illegal practices.”
The following punishments for offences thereunder are also prescribed by the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act, 1883, that is to say :-.
First, for corrupt practices. If the candidate is personally guilty, the election is avoided, and he is rendered ineligible for ever for that constituency (z); but if the candidate was only guilty through his agents, his ineligibility is limited to seven years (a). Further, the candidate or any other person so offending (except by personation) is liable to imprisonment not exceeding one year, with or without hard labour, or to a fine not exceeding 2001. ; and any person guilty of personation, is liable to imprisonment with hard labour not exceeding two years. After conviction, he cannot for seven years vote at any election whatever, parliamentary or municipal ; or hold any office, public or judicial, or be elected or continue a member of parliament (6).
Secondly, in case of illegal practices, any person convicted thereof is liable to a fine not exceeding 1001., and for five years cannot vote at any election, parliamentary or municipal, within the county or borough in which the offence was committed (c); and if the election commissioners, after hearing an election petition, report the prevalence of illegal practices, the candidate, if he is reported to have known thereof or assented thereto, loses
(x) Sect. 18. (y) Sect. 20.
(z) Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act, 1883, s. 4.
(a) Sect. 5.
his election, and becomes ineligible for that constituency for seven years, or (if he was only guilty through his agents) during the then parliament (d).
The election being closed, the sheriff or other returning officer returns the writ, with the names of the persons elected by the majority (e), to the clerk of the crown in chancery, to whom also the poll books are delivered, for their future safe custody (f). If the returning officer wilfully delays, neglects, or refuses, duly to return any person who ought to be returned, he is liable to an action at the suit of the party aggrieved. But no such action is to be commenced, save within one year after the commission of the injury, or within six months after the conclusion of the trial relating to the election (9); and the members returned by the returning officer are the sitting members until the return shall be declared false and illegal. And here we may observe, that the Reform Act of 1832 provided, that a returning officer, or any other person wilfully contravening its provisions, should be liable to be sued by the party aggrieved thereby, in which action the jury might find a verdict for such sum as they should think just, to the extent of 5001.(h).
The form and manner of proceeding to impugn the return of a member, are regulated by the Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868 (i), with the amending Act of
(d) Sect. 11. The Municipal Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Act, 1884 (extending the Corrupt Practices (Municipal Elections) Act, 1872), contains very similar provisions regarding “corrupt practices” and “illegal practices” at municipal elections.
(e) See 23 Hen. 6 (1445), c. 14.
(5) Parliamentary Voters Re. gistration Act, 1843, s. 93.
(9) Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868, s. 48.
(h) Representation of the People
Act, 1832, s. 76. By the Parliamentary Voters Registration Act, 1843, s. 97, a similar action, with damages to the extent of 1001., was given for the wilful breach of the provisions of that Act. (See Pryce v. Belcher (1846), 3 C. B. 58 ; (1847) 4 C. B. 866; Ballot Act, 1872, s. 11.)
(i) Pease v. Vorwood (1869), L. R. 4 C. P. 235 : Waygood v. James, ib., 361 ; Sterens v. Tillett (1870), L. R. 6 C. P. 147.
1879 (k), and by the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act, 1883, and are in substance as follows. Any person who voted, or had a right to vote, at the election, or who claims to have had a right to be returned or to have been elected, or alleges himself to have been a candidate thereat, may (within the period of twentyone days after the return, or, in case of an alleged corrupt practice, within twenty-eight days, or, in case of an illegal practice, within fourteen days, after the date of such alleged practice) subscribe a petition, complaining of an undue return or election (1) ; which petition shall thereupon be served by the petitioner on the respondent, that is to say, on the candidate or candidates who have been returned (m). The petitioner must give security, to the amount of one thousand pounds, for the payment of all costs charges and expenses (n). The trial is conducted before two judges of the High Court, sitting de die in diem, in open court, and without a jury, and with witnesses examined on oath, and, as a general rule, in the borough or county the election whereat has been impugned (o); and the director of public prosecutions (who is now the Solicitor to the Treasury) must, by himself or by his deputy, attend the trial (p). At the conclusion of the trial, the judges determine whether the member whose return or election is complained of, or any or what other person, was duly returned or elected, or whether the (k) 42 & 43 Vict. c. 75.
Elections and Corrupt Practices (l) Parliamentary Elections Act, Act, 1879; and the Corrupt 1868, S. 6; and Corrupt and and Illegal Practices Act, 1883, Illegal Practices Act, 1883, s. 40. S. 42. The judges are directed,
(m) Parliamentary Elections on or before the third day of Act, 1868, s. 8.
Michaelmas term, in every year, (n) Parliamentary Elections to select, by a majority of votes, Act, 1868, s. 6 (5) ; Hill v. Peel certain of their number to be (1870), L. R. 5 C. P. 172; placed on a rota for the trial Hughes v. Meyrick, ib. 407. of election petitions during the As to costs, see Corrupt and Illegal ensuing year. Practices Act, 1883, s. 44.
(p) Corrupt and Illegal Prac(0) Parliamentary Elections tices Act, 1883, s. 43; ProsecuAct, 1868, s. 11; Parliamentary tion of Offences Act, 1884, s. 2.