Page images
PDF
EPUB

election agent of a candidate, who is personally guilty of an offence of illegal payment, employment or hiring, shall be guilty of an illegal practice. The prohibitions in Section 14 Three prohiare threefold. It is an offence either to (1) let or hire, (2) Section 14. to lend or borrow, or (3) to use or employ a horse or carriage which is kept for the purpose of being let out to hire. So far Illegal to hire as regards the prohibition against letting or hiring, it has any hackney

carriage. already been pointed out that Section 7, Sub-section 1, which makes it an illegal practice to make, or contract to make, any payment with or to any person on account of the conveyance of electors to or from the poll, amply provides for the mischief sought to be restrained by this section, unless it be held that the effect of Section 14 (Sub-sections 1 and 2) is to take out of the operation of the former section the class of persons mentioned in the latter. It is difficult to think this was intended. On the other hand, why were the words “let” or “hire” introduced into the section ? However, this much is certain : It is, at least, an illegal hiring, and it may be an illegal practice for jobmasters and others who keep horses and carriages which they let out to hire to let any of them for the purpose of conveying voters to or from the poll, except under the cirstances allowed in Sub-section 3. By the latter it is enacted : “Nothing in this Act shall prevent a carriage, horse or other Proviso as to

hiring. animal being let to or hired, employed or used by an elector, or several electors at their joint cost, for the purpose of being conveyed to or from the poll.” But for this proviso it would hardly have been safe for any jobmaster to have had a single cab on the stand on the polling day, and it would certainly have been an offence for an elector to go to the poll in a hansom at his own expense. The sub-section authorises the latter proceeding, but it is submitted that it will be an illegal act for a person who has hired a cab to pick up another elector on the way and give him a lift to the poll, unless the latter shares the cost of the cab. “Joint cost" is the expression “ Joint cost." used in the Act. There is no definition of this term given, and it seems open to doubt whether if three electors drive up to the poll in a hackney cab the failure of any one of them

to make up his quota of the fare, though he pay something, will render the whole three electors and the owner of the cab guilty of an illegal hiring. Probably if the Court was of opinion that there was a bonâ fide intention to share the cost, and each elector paid a substantial part of it, such a case would be held to be within the protection of the sub-section. On the other hand, if it were shown that a number of electors went together to the poll in a conveyance hired from a livery stableman, and that the fare was really paid by one or two of them, the others contributing a nominal sum, there can be little doubt that it would be held that such a case was not

protected by Sub-section 3. Illegal to lend

Section 14 also prohibits the lending of any horse or cara hackney carriage.

riage which is kept for the purpose of being let out to hire. It must be observed that the general use of conveyances in connection with the bringing up of voters to the pobl is not

forbidden by the Act of 1883; it is the employment of hire:l As a rule conveyance which is struck at. As a rule, a candidate or candidate

his agent may accept the loan of horses and traps from any borrowed quarter where he can get them; but this section introduces traps.

an exception to this rule. It expressly prohibits the persons mentioned in it from lending their horses and carriages. Livery stablemen are certainly within the scope of the section. No matter how keen and disinterested their partizanship may be, they are forbidden to lend the horses and carriages used in the way of their business for the purpose of conveying voters to and from the poll. But the section is

not limited to livery stablemen. The probibition is against Exception to lending “any carriage, horse or other animal which any that rule.

person keeps or uses for the purpose of letting out for hire." Whether these words would cover the case of a person who kept a horse or trap, which he generally used for his own purposes, but which he occasionally let out for hire, may well be doubted; but it would certainly comprehend the case of a publican who, it may be, keeps a single horse and trap

for the purpose of letting it out. Illegal to use The section not merely forbids the lending of a horse or a hackney carriage.

carriage of the description mentioned, it also prohibits its use

may use

or employment in the conveyance of voters to and from the poll. Illegal to use A horse or trap kept for the purpose of being let out for any hackney hire must not, under any circumstances, be used on the polling election. day to bring up voters, unless in the cases excepted by the 3rd sub-section. Thus, a job master cannot himself, or by his servants, convey voters to the booths, nor can he give a friend or acquaintance a lift. Section 48, it should be mentioned here, allows voters to be conveyed by sea to and from the polling place at the candidate's expense under certain circumstances. “Where the nature of a county is such that

any electors residing therein are unable at an election for such county to reach their polling place without crossing the sea, or a branch or arm thereof, this Act shall not prevent the Legal to pay provision of means for conveying such electors by sea to their for sea car

riage in some polling place, and the amount of payment for such means of cases. conveyance may be in addition to the maximum amount of expenses allowed by the Act.” The result is, that with regard to the conveyance of voters, it is still legal to carry them in borrowed carriages unless the carriages or horses employed are usually let out for hire ; but it is in no case lawful to hire conveyance or any other means of carrying voters, except some means of sea carriage in the cases within Section 48.

C. Section 15 provides that any person who corruptly in- Illegal to duces or procures any other person to withdraw from being a ducea candicandidate at an election in consideration of any payment or

date to retire. promise of payment shall be guilty of illegal payment, and any person withdrawing in pursuance of such inducement or procurement shall also be guilty of illegal payment. This clause speaks for itself, and there can be little difficulty in determining the cases that fall within it. An illegal payment, it need not be repeated, becomes an illegal practice when committed by a candidate or his election agent.

D. By Section 16 all payments, or contracts for payments, Illegal to pay on account of bands of music, torches, flags, banners, cockades, ribbons, &c. ribbons, or other marks of distinction are forbidden, where they are made for the purpose of promoting the return of a candidate, and all persons concerned in making such pay

ments or in receiving them are declared guilty of an illegal payment. It is, perhaps, somewhat difficult to say why payments or contracts for payment on account of exhibiting placards constitute an illegal practice, and the class of payments in the section under consideration are only illegal payment's ;

but it must be observed that the distinction is made. Illegal to pay E. Section 17 declares that no person shall, for the puragents in excess of the pose of promoting or procuring the election of a candidate at number allowed.

election be engaged or employed for payment or promise any of payment for any purpose or in any capacity whatever except as authorised by the schedule of the Act, and if any person is engaged before, during or after an election in contravention of this section the person engaging or employing him shall be guilty of an illegal employment, and the person so engaged or employed shall also be guilty of illegal employment, if he knew that he was engaged or employed contrary to law. It becomes, therefore, material to enquire what persons can be legally employed and paid in connection with an election, and here care must be taken to distinguish the case

of county from the case of borough constituencies. Number of

Schedule I. (Part 1) in the case of counties allows :agents allowed

One election agent.

One sub-agent in each polling district;
In counties. One polling agent in each polling station.
One clerk, and

for the central committee-room when One messengers

the number of electors does not exceed 5,000, and where it does exceed 5,000, one additional clerk and messenger for each complete 5,000, and if there is a number of electors over and above any complete 5,000 or 5,000's, then another clerk and messenger may be employed for such number, although not amounting to a complete 5,000. In

addition, One clerk, and one messengers

for each polling district, and when the number of electors exceed 500 in any polling district one clerk and one messenger

for

every

}

complete 500 or complete 500's of electors, with
this provision, that if there be a number over and
above a complete 500, one clerk and one messenger

shall be allowed for such number. Suppose a county constituency with 11,000 voters, and Illustration. polling districts A, B, C, D and E, having respectively 2,000, 3,000, 300, 700, and 5,000 voters, and twelve polling stations. It is submitted the allowance of paid agents will be as follows: The election agent, five sub-agents, twelve polling agents, three clerks and three messengers for the central committee-room ; four clerks and four messengers in polling district A ; six clerks and six messengers in B; one clerk and one messenger in C; two clerks and two messengers in D; and ten clerks and ten messengers in E. It may be stated here that there is a proviso in the schedule that the number of clerks and messengers so allowed in any county, may be employed in any polling district where their services may be required.

In the case of boroughs generally, the number of paid Number of agents allowed is less, viz. :

paid agents One election agent.

In boroughs.
One polling agent in each polling station.
One clerk and one messenger for every complete 500

electors, and if there is a number over and above
any complete 500, or complete 500's of electors an

additional clerk and messenger may be employed. Although this is the general rule with regard to borougbs, the Act specially provides that certain boroughs, viz., East Retford, Shoreham, Cricklade, Much Wenlock and Aylesbury, no doubt in consideration of the great area they cover, shall have allowed to them the provision of paid agents applicable to counties.

An illegal employment, by Section 21, is made an illegal Legal to empractice when committed by the candidate, or his election ploy volunagent. It must be noted that this section is merely directed against the employment of any paid agents in excess of the number allowed. The employment of volunteers is perfectly legal under the new law.

allowed.

teers.

« EelmineJätka »