DAIL IN COMMITTEE ON ELECTORAL BILL.

I move that Rules 1 and 2 of the Third Schedule stand part of the Bill.

Question put: "That Rules 1 and 2 of the Third Schedule stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.

I now move Rule 3.

I move the following amendment, "In rule 3, line 12, to delete the word "fourth" and insert the word "fifth." It is merely a correction of a clerical error.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question put: "That Rule 3, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.

I move the rest of the Schedule from Rule 4 to the end.

Question put: "That Schedule 3, from Rule 4 to the end, stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.

I move Schedule 4.

There are no amendments to the Schedule.

I have not an amendment down to this Schedule, but I would like to draw the Minister's attention to Section 24 on page 15, where a declaration of identity in a prescribed form is referred to. I do not think that there is anything in the Act about the prescribed form the declarant ought to take. I have not been able to find it.

That is one of the forms to be prescribed by Order.

By Order, not by Act.

Question put: "That Schedule 4 stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.

I beg to move Rules 1 and 2 of Schedule 5.

Question put: "That Rules 1 and 2 of Schedule 5 stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.

I move that Rules 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 stand part of the Bill.

Question put: "That Rules 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.

I now move Rule 8.

I wish to move the following amendment. To add at the end a new paragraph, as follows:—

"The returning officer shall also send by post, as soon as practicable after the election is adjourned, to each person on the register of Parliamentary electors for the constituency, a notice, directed to the address on the register, and showing in the prescribed form the day and hours at which the poll is to be taken, the voter's number on the register, the polling station at which the elector is entitled to vote, and the names and descriptions of the candidates as they will appear on the ballot paper."

This amendment throws upon the Returning Officer the duties of sending particulars of election to each registered elector. This is usually done by the candidates or their agents, but there is very often a great deal of confusion as to the day and hour and place of the polling, and we think it is a reasonable request that the Returning Officer should officially notify every registered elector as to the time and the place of the polling, and I accordingly move the amendment.

This amendment is one which would undoubtedly relieve candidates and party organisations of labour which they undertake at present and it would throw a very considerable amount of labour on the Returning Officer. Some of the constituencies that are proposed will have as many as 9 members, that is, there will be a constituency with something over 180,000 of a population. As this Bill is based on 200,000 about half the population will be electors, so roughly in a constituency like that there will be 90,000 electors. If notices are to be sent out officially the work must be done with some care. Reasonable precaution must be taken in ensuring that when an elector gets notice his number is correctly marked on it, that the polling place is correctly marked, and that that person does not get a notice intended for someone else. Especially is that so when we take that in conjunction with proposals of Deputy O'Brien, to be moved subsequently, and when it is borne in mind that we calculate that in doing this work, addressing envelopes, filling in the elector's number, filling in the place where the elector is to poll, the time occupied would be such that probably the person engaged on the work would not do more than 25 in an hour. If that is taken as an average hour's work, in 8 hours of an average day there would just be 200 electors dealt with by one person. In a constituency of 90,000 electors, that means the staff to be employed by the Returning Officer there would be caused 450 days' work. There would only be a limited time between the reception of the nomination and the taking of the poll, as a day or two will be lost getting the complete ballot paper printed. Persons do not know, until the nominations have closed, who will be proposed, and some time will be lost getting the ballot paper printed, and getting the notices sent out a day or two before the election, to give time for postal delays. There may not actually be more than five or six clear days for doing the work. That means that something like eighty or ninety people should have to be employed by the Returning Officer. It seems to me, in addition to the other preparations that would have to be made by the Returning Officer, to cast this responsibility on him, work which would have to be done in a limited time, would tend to over-burden him, besides raising very considerably on the public purse the cost of the election. It is hard to discuss this subject satisfactorily, without infringing a little on the strict rules of order, as one can hardly consider it without considering subsequent and consequential amendments at the same time. We hope to make such arrangements for polling and to give such notice that there would only be a comparatively small number of people who would have any difficulty in discovering where they were to poll. The time and the day of the election are known to everybody, and certainly, to everybody who wants to vote, the names of the candidates will be known, so that I do not think anyone is seriously misled by getting out a series of ballot papers with one name or a series of names printed in large type. I do not think in this particular amendment before us there is a very great argument for casting this labour on the Returning Officer and incurring this expense. I suppose I could hardly discuss the question on this amendment as to whether it would be effectual as a means of preventing personation or not.

We may as well have the whole matter discussed now as it is important.

About this being effectual as a means of stopping personation, I am somewhat doubtful. In the first place there will be a large number of people who will not bring their papers with them. There will also be people who because of change of address will fail to get their papers. If it is to be strictly required that everybody shall show a paper, you will have, perhaps, the progress of the poll very seriously delayed, and perhaps delayed at the busy hour, by numbers of people rolling in without a paper to show. On the other hand, if there is not a fairly strict demand for the paper, the value of the provision is very, very seriously lessened. There is one other aspect of the matter. Suppose people are induced to bring their papers; suppose that practically everybody brings a paper, means could certainly be found either for faking these notices or perhaps capturing them. Now, if it is to be regarded as prima facie evidence that the person presenting the paper is the elector who should have that paper, you might even facilitate personation by having the persons given the ballot paper without question on their presenting the notice described in this particular amendment. That may easily happen. The Committee on Corrupt Practices reported that one of the abuses, or one of the failures to comply with the regulations, which facilitated personation was the failure of the presiding officers to ask the name of the elector presenting himself for a ballot paper. It was stated that in many cases people simply called out their numbers when they came into the booth, and were given a ballot paper, and I was told to-day of a person who, at the recent election, voted a great number of times; each time he went into the booth he merely announced a number and did not in any case know what his name was supposed to be. If too much attention were to be paid to this notice—if the possession of the notice was to be regarded as a sort of proof that the person presenting himself was entitled to vote—you might possibly facilitate that kind of personating. My view of the whole of the matter is this, that its value as a means of preventing personating and of facilitating the proper carrying out of the poll is somewhat doubtful. I believe that in certain circumstances it might possibly be used and in a certain way it might possibly facilitate personation. In other circumstances and operating in another way it might delay the poll unduly. I believe great numbers of people undoubtedly, probably half the electors who are not deprived of their right to vote at present, would turn up without the notices. You were not depriving anybody of his right to vote because of his not having a paper, but under this proposal numbers would turn up without them. The strain on the returning officer and the staff would be considerable; the expense would be something that would certainly be sufficiently large to be a consideration; and on these grounds I would be inclined to resist the amendment.

The argument for Amendment No. 3 does not depend upon the case which has been demolished by the Minister, or which he has attempted to demolish. Most of his argument against No. 3 is based upon an objection to No. 4. Now, I want to maintain that the case for No. 3 stands by itself. We are informed that there are constituencies which will have 90,000 voters and we ought to understand that the idea of the constitutional provision for Proportional Representation is to encourage the individual without a Party at his back to come forward as a candidate. The intention of that provision was to encourage individuals of public spirit to come forward as candidates and to seek representation. But the big constituency which, in the main, I think, is desirable, once we have accepted Proportional Representation, will undoubtedly deter public-spirited individuals, and unless we facilitate the individual the Proportional Representation system is going to lead more and more definitely to the control of election work by Party organisations and the elimination from the contest of the individual as such. Ninety thousand of an electorate means a very wide appeal; it means a very great deal of hard work and the organisation of writers, if you are going to approach that electorate by post. The Minister has pointed out as a difficulty, or what he thinks to be the difficulty, that nothing of this kind could be done until after the election has begun. The intention in moving this amendment is that as soon as the register is ready the organisation of the preparation of notices may be proceeded with. It may be said that you cannot indicate the names of the candidates. That is true; but it is not unknown to the arts and sciences of the printing trade to be able to add to a fly-sheet or the lower part of a card, a notice with the names of candidates. The rest of the card, or notice, may be filled in with the name, address and number on the register of the voter, and that can be ready in preparation for the day when the election is announced and when the nomination has taken place. In that way there will be no delay and no difficulty for the registration officer or returning officer. It would be a continuous process. The difficulty might arise it may be said in the case of a bye-election, but if that were put forward as an objection it might well be inserted that this provision would only apply in the case of a General Election, so that the mechanical or practical difficulty is nil. The question that really arises is whether the State or the individual candidate should bear the expense. Now, if the printing and sending by post of such a notice is part of the election expenses and if the preparation of those notices is taken in hand after the Register is ready, the added expense will not be very great It will facilitate the conduct of an election, and in a matter of this kind, when the intention is to elect a legislature representative of the opinions of the people, it is better that this kind of work, which is really public work, should be done by the public authority rather than by the individual who may have much money, or by the other individual who has a party organisation behind him. We might say that it will militate against party candidates, and therefore we should not support such a proposition; but we think that on the merits this is a sound principle and should be adopted, and that the notification to the individual elector of his registered number and the names of the candidates should be undertaken by the State and not simply by the exhibition of the notice of the election in a public place, and that he should be provided with it at his residence, as notified on the Register I think the practical difficulties are not to be taken into account at all, because they can be easily got over. The only question is that of the expense, and I submit that the expense should be borne by the State and not by the individual who is a candidate.

I think that there is very little case for Amendment No. 3 by itself. In regard to the question of incurring expense for this, there are very great difficulties about incurring what may be needless and fruitless expenditure of public money. I think it would be very hard to justify the expense of preparing all this big mail if there was no certainty that it would be required. It may easily happen that even in the biggest constituencies there will not be a contest, and until it is ascertained that there is to be a contest, it would be difficult to justify the expenditure of money in anticipation of a contest. Then, as regards encouraging the individual candidate, I think that the individual candidate is going to be helped by the desire that all parties will have under Proportional Representation a full poll. There will be big parties, and I take it that it is regarded as of advantage to circulate a list or notice to each elector showing where he will poll. Now, the big party, if it circulates that, will do the work of the individual candidate. It will be of no material assistance to this individual candidate apart from facilitating people in actually coming to the poll, and that will apply to everybody. It will be of no particular assistance to this individual candidate to have a ballot paper on which his name appears—just the plain ballot paper sent out to the electors. I honestly do not think that amendment No. 3 would be of any substantial benefit to the individual candidate. I do not see how it could gain him any votes. It will not move any people. If he sends out an appeal to the electors, he will send it out under the provision which enables him to send one communication free to each elector. That will be the thing that will facilitate him. The sending out of this particular ballot paper will do him no good whatever, as far as I can see. I think that everybody who is interested enough to vote will know who the candidates are, and will have learned from the Press and from public meetings, and in other ways, something about them. Then if you send out this notice, it has often happened—it happened in the last election—that for one reason or another a polling station will have to be changed at the last moment; and in any case, so far as country districts are concerned, if reasonable care is taken beforehand and proper notice is given, there is no reason why anybody should have any difficulty, even without this notice, in ascertaining where he is to poll. As a matter of fact, I think that the benefit from this amendment would be very small indeed. I believe that practically all candidates will avail of the free postal facilities to send out some sort of a circular. It might be a good thing; it might be worth while, when sending out the envelope, for them to indicate to the elector what his number was on the register and what his polling place was if they chose to do so. That would be a certain facility to electors, but the benefit of this proposed amendment would be infinitesimal, and I do not see how the work could be done in advance. Even if the circulars were written out, they would have to be carefully taken and put into envelopes, and there would be a very considerable amount of work, even if we agreed that expenditure should be incurred in view of an occasion which might not arise. I think it is undesirable that this expenditure of public money should be incurred when the occasion for it might not arise.

I am opposed to this amendment for two reasons—that it is simply a waste of public money, for, no matter what circulars are sent out by the returning officer, parties will send out their own instructions to the electors instructing them how to vote; and the second reason is that we are out to stop personation. This amendment, if carried, will assist the personator. He will go round and collect these cards and use them, and if the elector has the official cards it will assist that sort of thing. I heard nothing at all from the mover of what advantage is to be gained. It will do more harm than good, and is only a waste of public money.

I admit fully the case made against Amendment 4—"Before a ballot paper is delivered to an elector, the presiding officer shall call upon him to produce the notice sent to the elector in accordance with Rule 8 of this part of this Schedule, and if the elector fails to produce the notice the presiding officer may put to him the questions authorised to be put by Section 32 of this Act"—which is not before us at the moment. That was drafted some considerable time ago, and I am now satisfied that there is a danger that it would assist personation rather than prevent it, and I do not propose to move that amendment. But with regard to Amendment 3, which is before us, the sole purpose of that is to give the necessary information to the voter, and I still think, notwithstanding what has been said, that it would be a good thing.

I do not take sides very much one way or the other as regards this amendment. I see the advantage to be derived from it and I see the great difficulties in the way which have been mentioned by the Minister for Local Government. But would it not be absolutely essential, if this amendment is to pass, that there should be some provision in the case of failure on the part of the Returning Officer, in compiling this document, or failure on the part of the Post Office to deliver it to the voter, that such failure should not have a prejudicial effect on the election subsequently held? It seems to me that it would be a very dangerous thing to make it an essential part of the election that a document giving vital information to each elector should be sent out and which would really be one on which he would act as to how he was to vote and where he was to attend and vote. It does seem to me, in the hurry before an election, it is highly probable that in some constituencies, at any rate, some Returning Officers would blunder in doing that. Some Returning Officers are dealing with very large numbers of electors, in some cases 90,000 electors, and any mistake that occurs in the printing of the document will be repeated in the case of every elector and in addition there may also be mistakes in the written part of the documents dealing with the particular elector or batch of electors. I can conceive a vista of election petitions to quash elections arising out of involuntary and wholly unintentional errors on the part of the Returning Officer. Therefore, it seems to me that you must put in some proviso to safeguard the elections that are held although there may be mistakes in what is really a vital document. On the other hand, if you put this in then you are rather at the mercy of unscrupulous Returning Officers, if any should turn up in future, who might make the whole election void and say it was only a clerical error or mistake, if by some mistake a party did not get their notice. It seems to me that the possibility of causing great confusion in an election is a consideration that ought to be very carefully weighed before this amendment is accepted. As I say, on the merits on other grounds the thing seems to be fairly evenly balanced, but this is a difficulty that has not been touched upon at all and that does seem to me to be a very serious one.

I am opposed to the amendment on the ground that it makes the procedure too cumbersome, but I am not opposed to adding any provision that will oblige the elector to produce a notice on the day of the election. It was stated that that would impose too great a strain on the Presiding Officer, but if entrance into the booth is conditional upon producing this card it would be no strain on the Presiding Officer. It is also opposed on the ground that it would prevent the ordinary precautions being taken by the Presiding Officer; but the Presiding Officer could take these precautions in addition to getting this paper. It would not at all relieve him of the necessity of taking other precautions. I would refer to this as an additional precaution. Then the objection is raised that the voter would be put to inconvenience because he had not the paper. Polling stations are now so numerous that they are never more than two miles or so from the voters and there would not be much inconvenience in that. I would not support the amendment because it has not been recommended by the Committee. We are trying a larger Register and we would like to see how the recommendations will fare with the new Register. If there is much personation under the new Register I would urge upon the Minister to take into consideration this additional precaution.

Amendment put and negatived.

I do not propose to move Amendment No. 4; I wish to withdraw it.

Question put: "That Rule 8 stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.
Question put: "That Rules 9 to 33 inclusive, stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.
RULE 34.
REJECTED BALLOT PAPERS.

I beg to move as an amendment to Rule 34:—

To delete lines 10 to 19 inclusive, and to add "or (d)” after “(c)” in line 21.

That amendment is consequential upon changes made earlier.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I beg to move:—

Rule 34(b) line 22—To delete the word “franchise” and substitute the word “electoral.”

That amendment is consequential upon an amendment already made.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question put: "That Rule 34, as amended, stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.
Question put: "That Rules 35 to 42 inclusive stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.
RULE 43.
NOTICE OF RESULTS OF ELECTION.

I beg to move:—

Rule 43, lines 31 and 32—To delete the words "in the case of an election held according to the principle of Proportional Representation."

This amendment is also consequential.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Rule 43, as amended, put and agreed to.
Question put: "That Rules 44 to 51 inclusive stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.
RULE 52.
UNDERTAKING FOR SECRECY.

I beg to move:—

Rule 52, line 4—To insert the word "prescribed" before the word "form" and delete the words "specified in Part 3 of this Schedule."

Amendment put and agreed to.
Rule 52, as amended, put and agreed to.
Question put: "That Rule 53 stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.
Question put: "That Part I of Fifth Schedule stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.

I beg to move:—

At the end of Part 1 and before Part 2 to insert a new rule (54) as follows:—"The Returning Officer in any University constituency shall have power to appoint a deputy to act for him in such respects as the Returning Officer may think fit."

In certain places in this Bill reference is made to the Returning Officer or his deputy. I do not think there is any provision in the Bill for the Returning Officer to appoint a deputy to act for him in any matter, and I think it is quite clear that in many matters it will be really necessary for the Returning Officer to appoint a deputy to do certain things for him. Therefore I have put down this amendment especially in reference to University Returning Officers, though I think it is quite likely that the Minister may think that some similar provision is necessary for any Returning Officer. I move the amendment in my name, because I think that provision is required to allow the Returning Officer to appoint a deputy, because the Bill clearly in certain places considers the appointment of such deputy.

The Returning Officer in the case of Dublin University is the Provost of Trinity College, and in the case of the National University is the Vice-Chairman of the National University for the time being Chairman of the Senate. There is an express provision for the possibility of either of these officers being prevented through ill-health or any other incapacity from acting. The performance of their ordinary duties would prevent them from taking on the active duties of Returning Officer, and it seems to me that it would be only reasonable to allow them to appoint Deputy Returning Officers from their own staff or any such other person whom they might think fit to perform the duties of Returning Officer in this particular case. It is only in the case of ill-health or actual incapacity that they could appoint a deputy under the Statute.

In the case of ill-health the clause provides that another Returning Officer may be appointed by the Governing Body of the University, but it does not provide for the appointment of a Deputy Returning Officer. It provides for the appointment of someone else to act as Returning Officer on that particular day.

I only saw Professor Thrift's amendment this morning. What struck me about it was, that it seemed to indicate a division of authority and a division of responsibility. I do not know whether that is desirable or not. If the Statutory Returning Officer did not desire or choose to act it might be a good thing to make provision for a Deputy acting. That, I understand, is what happens in Great Britain. If the Mayor of a Borough, say, does not choose to act, the Town Clerk acts and has all the authority of the Returning Officer; but every Returning Officer must have agents, and if it is a case of lack of knowledge as regards counting under the Proportional System, he could appoint an Assessor. I think there should be either a Returning Officer taking responsibility and acting by his agents or there should be the handing over of the whole business to a Deputy Returning Officer. The Returning Officers have certain statutory duties to perform, and they are responsible for the proper carrying out of the rules in connection with the elections. I think some person should be responsible. There is nothing, I take it, to prevent a Returning Officer from appointing an agent or an assistant, to assist him to do certain actual work in connection with the election.

I do not mean to suggest in the slightest that the appointment of a Deputy would relieve the Returning Officer of any responsibility. He is responsible for everything. It is to him anyone would have to go, if anything were to go wrong. There are various acts he has to perform which could really only be done by a Deputy; whether these could be done by an agent, as the Minister suggests, I am not sure, unless we give him the necessary authority. I do not think the agent could be said to have sufficient authority. I would suggest to the Minister, and urge that the appointment of this Deputy would not relieve the Returning Officer in any way of responsibility.

In that case, as far as the substance of the amendment is concerned I am quite in agreement with it. I would think, without going into the point too closely, that the Returning Officer would have power to get people to do things for him, that he could not do personally. For instance, if the amendment of Deputy O'Brien as regards sending nominations through the post had been adopted the Returning Officer would send the nominations through the post, but of course that would not mean the Returning Officer would himself go to the post with the letters. I am not prepared to say that the appointment of the Deputy is not necessary, but if it is necessary I will look into it.

I am satisfied if you agree to look into it. In the case of the reception of nomination papers I think it would be permissible to have a Deputy appointed.

Do I understand from Deputy Fitzgibbon that the Returning Officers in the case of the Universities are statutory?

Yes; Section 26 provides for that.

Then the Provost of Trinity College is the Returning Officer for Trinity?

Yes, and the Vice-Chancellor in the case of the National University.

Would you be inclined to accept the Chancellor?

The Statutory Returning Officer is the Vice-Chancellor.

I would like to correct a little inaccuracy of expression in the case of the Minister's Bill, and Deputy Fitzgibbon's reference to it. The Vice-Chancellor of the National University is not the Chairman of the Senate. The Chancellor is ex-officio Chairman of the Senate. Fortunately, the Chancellor is conspicuous by his absence, so that the Vice-Chancellor is as a matter of fact the Chairman. Now, we have several pro-Vice-Chancellors, and if any Vice-Chancellor is incapacitated, there is provision made in the Statutes of the University, for his duties to be discharged by the pro-Vice-Chancellor, so that so far as we are concerned there is no great difficulty to be overcome.

The Minister will undertake to see whether Deputy Thrift's amendment can be met in the proper legal way, and will introduce any amendment necessary on the next stage. The amendment is, therefore, withdrawn.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move Part 2 of the Fifth Schedule (Directions to Presiding Officers in regard to marking Ballot Papers).

I move this amendment:—

"To delete Rule 1, Part 2."

Amendment agreed to.
Question put: "That Rules 2 and 3 of Part 2 stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.
Question put: "That Part 2 of the Fifth Schedule stand part of the Bill."
Agreed.

I move Part 3 (Fifth Schedule Form I. (Form of Writ for a General Election).

I move as an amendment: "To delete in line 63 the word `franchise,' and substitute the word `electoral.' "

Amendment agreed to.
Question put: "That Form I. as amended stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.

I move Form II. (Form of Writ for an election to fill one vacancy).

I move an amendment similar to the last one—to delete the word "franchise" and substitute the word "electoral" in line 32.

Amendment agreed to.
Question put: "That Form II. as amended stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.

I move Form III. (Form of Writ for an election to fill more than one vacancy in the same constituency).

I move a similar amendment in this case—to delete the word "franchise" and substitute "electoral" on line 9.

Amendment agreed to.
Question put: "That Form III. as amended stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.

I move Form IV. (Form of Notice of Parliamentary election).

I have a similar amendment for Form IV.—to delete "franchise" and substitute "electoral" on line 71.

Amendment agreed to.
Question put: "That Form IV. as amended stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.

I move Form V. (Form of Nomination paper in Parliamentary election).

I withdraw my amendment—"To delete all after (Signed)

A.B.

C.D."

Question put: "That Form V. stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.

I move Form VI. (Form of Ballot paper).

I move the following consequential amendment:—"To alter the heading to `To be used only in elections at which there are more than two candidates.' "

Amendment agreed to.
Question put: "That Form VI. as amended stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.

I move Form VII. (Form of Ballot paper).

I move the following amendment in this case:—

"To alter the heading to `To be used only in elections at which there are not more than two candidates.' "

Amendment agreed to.

My amendment to this form reads:—"To delete the column containing the figures 1, 2." That would be an obvious direction.

Quite. That is agreed.

Amendment agreed to.

If I might make a suggestion in connection with these forms I would say that I do not think names ought to be used, surnames at any rate. We might get some other term or form which would be much better. Occasionally it may happen that a candidate of the name of Brown or Jones might appear on the ordinary ballot form in a particular election, and I would suggest that either the Christian name or some other designation than the one inserted should be used. I have known cases in which it prejudiced candidates at elections to have forms of ballot papers containing somewhat similar names to the names of candidates, and it was taken as a sort of direction as to what way people would vote.

That occurred in the case of Deputy O'Brien during the last election. His objection was that he was marked No. 5 on the paper instead of No. 1.

How is the difficulty to be got over?

You might use the names Abraham, Isaac, or something of that sort. It is possible to get over the matter some way or other so that the sample names would not be confused with the names of candidates. Even in the case of sample forms they ought to be changed.

Question put: "That Form 7, as amended, stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.

I move Form VIII. (Form of direction for guidance for voters).

I move the following amendment:—"To alter the heading to `To be used only in elections at which there are more than two candidates.' "

Amendment agreed to.

Might I suggest making these Forms of Directions for the instruction of voters a little more explicit. The instructions are, "that the voter may also place the figures 2, 3, and so on in accordance with the order of his choice or preference opposite the names of other candidates." Voters have been sufficiently stupid as to imagine that they are authorised to place the figures 2and 3 opposite a name or opposite two names, and in that way spoil their vote. Just a slight alteration of the wording would make it come within the comprehension of the most ordinary voter.

Does the Deputy suggest any particular wording?

It could be made more detailed. For instance: "he may also place the figure 2 after a further name and again figure 3"——

That is, of course, stated in the next paragraph.

That is what makes it all the more misleading, because it seems to leave alternative possibilities.

I think the people who vote wrongly are the people who do not read these things, and act according to their own instinct or intuition. University voters, I understand, are the worst offenders.

We have the notorious case of a very distinguished lawyer who drafted a form of voting paper of such an elaborate character, in accordance with the statute, that University graduates spoiled votes to the number of almost 100, and his own vote was one of the spoiled.

Question put: "That Form VIII., as amended, stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.

I beg to move Form No. IX. (Form of Direction for the guidance of the Voter in voting, which shall be printed in conspicuous characters and placarded outside every Polling Station and in every compartment of every Polling Station).

I beg to move an amendment to alter the heading to:—"To be used only in elections at which there are not more than two candidates," and to delete lines 10 to 13 "The Voter will go into one of the compartments, and with the pencil provided in the compartment place a cross on the right-hand side, opposite the name of each candidate for whom he votes, thus X," and also to delete lines 22 to 24 as follows: "If the Voter votes for more than (one) (two) candidates, or places any mark on the paper by which he may be afterwards identified his ballot paper will be void and will not be counted," and to substitute the following:—

"The voter will go into one of the compartments, and with the pencil there provided mark his ballot paper by placing the figure 1 opposite the name of the candidate for whom he votes.

"If the voter does not place the figure 1 on his ballot paper, or places the figure 1 opposite more than one name, or places the figure 1 and some other figure opposite the same name, or places any mark on the paper by which he may afterwards be identified, his ballot paper will be void, and will not be counted.

"The voter need not place the figure 2 opposite the name of the candidate for whom he does not wish to vote, but the fact of his doing so will not render his ballot paper void, if it is otherwise properly marked."

I accept that amendment.

I think this amendment is ambiguous. If it means what I think it means the wording should be altered in the last paragraph: "The Voter need not place the figure 2 opposite the candidate for whom he does not wish to vote." The effect of that would be that he might put the figure 2 or he might leave it out, and I suggest that even if he put it in that it would not render his vote a better vote.

I think that is the position.

In the event of there being only two candidates, there will be no harm done by the figure 2 being placed opposite the second candidate, and it preserves the method of voting in all cases whether there are two or more candidates.

It does mean the opposite, then, to what I took it to mean.

The main point is that it does not matter what he does about number 2.

If the Minister looks into the wording, it will be quite satisfactory.

The instructions in the ordinary elections are that the voter may place the figure one, and the figure two, and the figure three, and so on, after the different candidates. That is clear enough. That will be the practice, and it is desirable to preserve that method, even in the elections where there are only two candidates, and not to confuse the minds of the electors by saying you must not put the figure 2 when there are only two candidates.

I think the amendment is quite satisfactory, and in view of the way in which people will be accustomed to vote, it is clear enough.

It is a bit confusing, certainly. The voter will go into one compartment and he will find a pencil there. What would happen if he marked his paper with another pencil?

The vote would be disallowed when you could prove that it was marked with the other pencil.

It is to prevent the corrupt practice of the candidate providing the elector with the pencil.

Or to prevent the removal of the pencil provided.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question put:"That Form IX., as amended, stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.
FORM X.
"Public notice of the result of the election and of the transfer of votes."

I beg to move to alter the heading to: "To be used only in elections at which there are more than two candidates."

Amendment agreed to.
Question put: "That Form X., as amended, stand part of the Schedule."
Agreed.

Will the remaining Schedules, up to and including 10, be taken to-morrow? There are amendments in up to Schedule 8, but no amendments to 9 and 10. Does the Minister propose to take the Second Schedule to-morrow, or to postpone it to the Report Stage?

The Second Schedule will be postponed until the report stage.

The remaining Schedules, then, will be taken to-morrow. The Dáil is now adjourned until to-morrow at 3 o'clock.

The Dáil adjourned at 4.35 p.m.