THE ELECTORAL BILL.

I will ask leave to introduce the Electoral Bill. This Bill is a fairly bulky measure and with the Schedule it runs to 60 or 62 pages. It deals with three principal branches of electoral law. It deals with the franchise, the registration of electors, and the conduct of elections. Matters such as personation, corrupt practices and bribery at elections are not dealt with here and will be the subject of a second Bill. It was felt that this was a Bill sufficiently unwieldy in itself, and that there was a natural division between the rights and wrongs of election law, and for that purpose a separate Bill has been introduced, stating what the franchise is, how elections are to be carried out and conducted. Then corrupt practices will be dealt with in the separate Bill which will be introduced as soon as possible. This particular Bill does not deal with Local Government elections at all; it scarcely deals with Local Government franchise, except to the extent of specifying that the Local Government register is made up along with the other register. It does not propose as it stands—there might be a small amendment—any change in the Local Government franchise. It is a Bill primarily to carry out changes rendered necessary by the adoption of the Constitution. The Bill also provides for the holding of Senatorial Elections, although there will be no such elections for some considerable time. It provides also for the Government to carry out the Referendum, and it provides for the issue of writs for the elections. The writs will be issued by the Clerk of the Dáil following the direction of the Chairman of the Dáil on a Vote passed by the Dáil. It embodies the points with regard to disqualification of persons being members of the Seanad and Dáil, passed here some time ago. In order to enable members of the Dáil to read over the measure before the Dáil meets again after Christmas, I have had sufficient numbers of copies of the draft printed to be in the hands of Deputies. Copies handed to Deputies to-day are not entirely complete because one Schedule has been got ready to-day in its final form and it is not in the printed copies. However, it will be ready before the Second Reading comes on. It is the Schedule dealing with the regulation for the registration of University Elections. It is quite a simple Schedule and, as a matter of fact, contains practically no point of principle. I do not propose to move for a Second Reading of this Bill to-day. I simply ask leave of the Dáil to introduce the Bill so that it may in its full form be circulated before it comes on for Second Reading in the New Year.

Question: "That leave be given to introduce the Electoral Bill," put and agreed to.