HC Deb 08 March 1865 vol 177 cc1363-4

moved for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the law relating to the Registration of County Voters. The Bill was one of a very unambitious character, and would be contained in a very few clauses. The object was to remedy a practical grievance. At present any person on the list of voters for a county or division might send a notice of objection to any other person on the list, assigning no reason for his objection, and the practice was to place some man of straw on the register, who signed any number of objections, which were distributed all over the county, without giving the persons objected to the slightest clue to the ground of objection. In South Lancashire, for instance, in 1862–3, out of 23,140 names on the register, 16,468 were objected to, and 5,554 were expunged. In 1863–4, out of 22,390 names on the register, 13,468 were objected to. That statement was quite sufficient to show that some change was requisite. He did not propose to alter the whole machinery of registration. His immediate object was twofold. The Bill required that notices of objection should state specifically the grounds of objection; each should be considered separately, and if any objection taken was pronounced frivolous or vexatious the revising barrister should have power to give costs on that, even if the objector were successful on any other ground. He also proposed that voters should be able to send declarations, made before a magistrate or a Master in Chancery, stating what their qualification was, instead of being compelled to appear in person before the revising barrister. This would save great inconvenience and expense.

Moved, That leave be given to bring in a Bill.—(Mr. Hunt.)


was glad that this Bill was being introduced. He had himself been objected to three times in five years, and he knew many persons with a perfect qualification whose names had been struck off, because they were unable to attend the registration court.


said, the two principal provisions of the Bill were recommended in the Report of the Select Committee last year. The Bill which he introduced last year went considerably further than the present one, and would have almost entirely recast the system of registration, and he regretted that this Bill did not embody more of the provisions of his own.


thought that persons should be put on the registry, not by the act of an election agent, but by the act of some public department. He approved of the alterations proposed, and hoped to see greater improvements made.

Motion agreed to.

Bill to amend the Law relating to the Registration of County Voters, ordered to be brought in by Mr. HUNT, Mr. WALTER, and Mr. HOWES.

Bill presented, and read 1°. [Bill 59.]