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borough as assenting to the nomination, and shall be delivered during the time appointed for the election to the returning officer by the candidate himself, or his proposer or seconder.
If at the expiration of one hour after the time appointed for the election no more candidates stand nominated than there are vacancies to be filled up, the returning officer shall forth with declare the candidates who may stand nominated to be elected, and return their names to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery; but if at the expiration of such hour more candidates stand nominated than there are vacancies to be filled up, the returning officer shall adjourn the election and shall take a poll in manner in this Act mentioned.
A candidate may, during the time appointed for the election, but not afterwards, withdraw from his candidature by giving a notice to that effect, signed by him, to the returning officer: Provided, that the proposer of a candidate vominated in his absence out of the United Kingdom may withdraw such candidate by a written notice signed by him and delivered to the returning officer, together with a written declaration of such absence of the candidate.
If after the adjournment of an election by the returning officer for the purpose of taking a poll one of the candidates nominated shall die before the poll has commenced, the returning officer shall, upon being satisfied of the fact of such death, countermand notice of the poll, and all the proceedings with reference to the election shall be commenced afresh in all respects as if the writ had been received by the returning officer on the day on which proof was given to him of such death; provided that no fresh nomination shall be necessary in the case of a candidate who stood nominated at the time of the countermand of the poll.
Poll at Elections.
II. In the case of a poll at an election the votes shall be given by ballot. The ballot of each voter shall consist of a paper (in this Act called a ballot paper) showing the names and description of the candidates. Each ballot paper shall have a number printed on the back, and shall have attached a counterfoil with the same number printed on the face. At the time of voting, the ballot paper shall be marked on both sides with an official mark, and delivered to the voter within the polling station, and the number of such voter on the register of voters shall be marked on the counterfoil, and the voter having secretly marked his vote on the paper, and folded it up so as to conceal his vote, shall place it in a closed box in the presence of the officer presiding at the polling station (in this Act called “the presiding officer") after baving shown to uim the official mark at the back.
Any ballot paper which has not on its back the official mark, or on which votes are given to more candidates than the voter is entitled to vote for, or on which anything, except the said number on the back, is written or marked by which the voter can be identified, shall be void and not counted.
After the close of the poll the ballot boxes sball be sealed up, so as to prevent the introduction of additional ballot papers, and shall be taken charge of by the returning officer, and that officer shall, in the presence of such agents, if any, of the candidates as may be in attendance, open the ba lot boxes, and ascertain the result of the poll by counting the votes given to each candidate, and shall forth with declare to be elected the candidates or candidate to whom the majority of votes have been given, and return their names to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery. The decision of the returning officer as to any question arising in respect of any ballot paper shall be final, subject to reversal on petition questioning the election or return.
Where an equality of votes is found to exist between any candidates at an election for a county or borough, and the addition of a vote would entitle any of such candidates to be declared elected, the returning officer, if a registered elector of such county or borough, may give such additional vote, but shall not in any other case be entitled to vote at an election for which he is returning officer.
OFFENCES AT ELECTIONS. Offences in respect of Nomination papers, und Ballot bores. III. Every person who,(1.) Forges or fraudulently defaces or fraudulently destroys any
nomination paper, or delivers to the returning officer any
nomination paper, knowing the same to be forged; or (2.) Forges or counterfeits or frandulently defaces or fraudulently
destroys any ballot paper or the official mark on any ballot
paper; or (3.) Without due authority supplies any ballot paper to any person; (4.) Fraudnlently puts into any ballot box any paper other than the
ballot paper which he is authorised by law to put in; or (5.) Fraudulently takes out of the polling station any ballot paper ; (6.) Without due authority destroys, takes, opens, or otherwise
interferes with any ballot box or packet of ballot papers then
in use for the purposes of the election; shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and be liable if he is a returning officer or an officer or clerk in attendance at a polling station, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding two years, with or without hard labour, and if he is any other person, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months, with or without hard labour.
Any attempt to commit any offence specified in this section shall be punishable in the manner in which the offeuce itself is punishable.
Iu any indictment or other prosecution for an offence in relation to the nomination papers, ballot boxes, ballot papers, and marking instruments at an election, the property in such papers boxes, and instruments may be stated to be in the returning officer at such election, as well as the property in the counterfoils.
Infringement of Secrecy. IV. Every officer, clerk, and agent in attendance at a polling station shall maintain and aid in maintaining the secrecy of the voting in such station, and shall not communicate, except for some purpose authorised by law, before the poll is closed, to any person any information as to the name or number on the register of voters of any elector wbo has or has not applied for a ballot paper or voted at that station, or as to the official mark, and no such official, clerk, or agent, and no person whosoever, shall interfere with or attempt to interfere with a voter when marking his vote, or otherwise attempt to obtain in the polling station information as to the candidate for whom any voter in such station is about to vote or has voted, or communicate at any time to any person any information obtained in a polling station as to the candidate for whom any voter in such station is about 10 vote or has voted, or as to the number on the back of the ballot paper given to any voter at such station. Every officer, clerk, and agent in attendance at the counting of the votes shall maintain and aid in maintaining the secrecy of the voting and shall not attempt to ascertain at such counting the number on the back of any ballot paper, or communicate any information obtained at such counting as to the candidate for whom any vote is given in any particular ballot paper. No person shall directly or indirectly induce any voter to display his ballot paper after he shall have marked the same, so as to make knowu to any person the name of the candidate for or against whom he has so marked his vote.
Every person who acts in contravention of the provisions of this section shall be liable, on summary conviction before two justices of the peace, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months, with or without hard labour.
AVENDMENT OF Law.
Division of counties and boroughs into polling districts. V. The local authority (as berein-after defined) of every county shall by order, as soon as may be practicable after the passing of this Act, divide such county into polling districts, and assign a polling place to each district, in such manner that, so far as is reasonably practicable, every elector resident in the couniy shall have a polling place within a distance not exceeding four nıiles from his residence, so, nevertheless, that a polling district need not in any case be constituted containing less than one hundred registered electors.
The local auihority (as herein-after defined) of every borough shall take into consideration the division of such borough into polling districts, and, if they think it desirable, by order, divide such borough into polling districts in such manner as they may think most convenient for taking the votes of the elertors at a poll.
The local authority of every coumiy and horough shall, on or before the first day of May one thonsand eight hundred and seventy-three, send to one of her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, to be laid by him before both Houses of Parliament, a copy of any order made by snch authority in pursuance of this section, and a report, in such form as he may reqnire, stating how far the provisions of this Act with respect to polling districts have been complied with in their county or borough; and if they make any order after the first day of May one thousand eight hundred and seventy-three, with respect to polling districts or polling places in their country or borough, they shall send & copy of such order to the said Secretary of State, to be laid by him before both Houses of Parliament.
The local authority of a county or borough in this section means the authority having power to divide such county or borongh into polling districts under section thirty-four of the Representation of the People Act, 1867, and any elemen's anilling that section; and such authority shall exercise the powers thereby given to them for the purpos98 of this section; and the provisions of the said section as to the local authority of a borough constituted by the combination of two or more municipal bor 'ughs shall apply to a borough constituted by the combina. tion of a municipal borough and other places, whether municipal boroughs or not: anil in the case of a borough of which a town council is not the local authority, and which is not wholly situate within one petty sessional division, the justices of the peace for the county in which such borough or the larger part thereof in area is situate, assembled at some court of general or quarter sessions, or at some wiljourninent thereof, shall be the loral anthority thereof, and shall for this purpose have jurisdiction over the whole of such borongh; and in the case of such borough and of a county, a court of general sessions shall be assembled within twentyone days after the passing of this Act, and any such court may be assembled and aljourned from time to time for the purpose.
No election shall be questioned by reason of any non-compliance with this section or any informality relative to polling districts or polling places, and any order made by a local authority in relation to polling districts or polling places shall apply only to lists of voters made subsequently to its date, and to registers of voters formed out of such lists, and to elections held after the time at which a register of voters so formed has come into force; Provided that where any such order is made between the irst day of July and the first day of November in any year, and does not create any new division between two or more polling districts of any parish for which a separate pour rate is or can be made, such order shall apply to the register of voters which comes into force next after such order is made, and to elections held after that register so comes into force; ard the clerk of the peace or town clerk, as the case may be, shall copy, print, and arrange the lists of voters for the purpose of such register in accordance with such order.
Use of School and Public Room for Poll. VI. The returning officer at a parliamentary election may use, free of charge, for the purpose of taking the poll at such election, any room in a school receiving a grant out of moneys provided by Parliament, and any room the expense of maintaining which is payable out of any local rate, but he shall make good any damage done to such room, and defray any expense incurred by the person or body of persons, corporate or unincorporate, having control over the same on account of its being used for the purpose of taking the poll as aforesaid.
The use of any room in an unoccupied house for the purpose of taking the poll shall not render any person liable to be rated or to pay any rate for such house.
Conclusiveness of Register of Voters. VII. At any election for a county or borongh, a person shall not be entitled to vote unless his name is on the register of voters for the time being in force for such county or borough, and every person whose name is on such register shall be entitled to demand and receive a ballot paper and to vote : Provided that nothing in this section shall entitle any persou to vote wlio is prolıibited from voting by any statute, or by the common law of Parliament, or relieve such person from any penalties to which he may be liable for voting.
DUTIES OF RETURNING AND ELECTION OFFICERS.
powers and duties of Returning Officer. VIlI. Subject to the provisions of this Act, every returning officer shall provide such nomination papers, polling stations, ballot boxes, ballot papers, stamping instruments, copies of register of voters, and other things, appoint and pay such officers, and do such other acts and things as may be necessary for effectuully conducting an election in manner provided by this Act.
All expenses properly incurred by any returning officer in carrying into effect the provisions of this Act, in the case of any parliamentary electior, shall be payable in the same manner as expenses incurred in the erection of polling booths at such election are by law payable.
Where the sheriff is returning officer for more than one county as defined for the purpose of parliamentary elections, he may, without prejudice to any other power, by writing under his hand, appoint a fit person to be his deputy for all or any of the purposes relating to an election in any such county, and may, by bimself or such deputy, exercise any powers and do any things which the returning officer is authorised or required to exercise or do in relation to such election. Every such depury, and also any under sheriff, shall, in so far as he acts as returning officer, be deemed to be included in the term returning officer in the provisions of this Act relating to parliamentary elections, and the enactments with which this part of this Act is to be construed
Keeping of Order in Station. IX. If any person misconducts himself in the polling station, or fails to obey tbe lawful orders of the presiding officer, he may immediately, by order of the presiding officer, be removed from the polling station by any constable in or near that station, or any other person authorised in writing by the returning officer to remove him; and the person so removed shall not, unless with the permission of the presiding officer, again be allowed to enter the polling station during the day.
Any person so removed as aforesaid, if charged with the commission in such station of any off may be kept in custody until he can be brought before a justice of the peace.
Provided that the powers conferred by this section shall not be exercised so as to prevent any elector who is otherwise entitled to vote at any polling station from having an opportunity of voting at such station.