§ MR. HOBHOUSE (Somerset, E.)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that, in the precepts just issued by the Local Government Board to the Clerks of the Peace, the 20th October is fixed as the date on which the registers, both of County Electors and of Parliamentary Voters, are to be ready; that this only allows seven days from the 13th day of October, the date fixed by law for the completion of the revision of the Lists; that in these seven days the Clerks of the Peace will have to prepare for the Press, and get printed, corrected, indexed, and bound, sets of registers containing in many counties 100,000 names and upwards; and whether, in view of the great additional pressure, expense, and risk of errors that will be caused by such an arrangement, he will consider the advisability of further postponing the time for the publication of the registers?
§ * MR. RITCHIE
The period within which the revision of the Lists of Voters is to take place, and the date on which the Registers of County Electors and Parliamentary Voters are to be completed, are prescribed by sections 6 and 7 of the County Electors Act of last year. As the Order in Council to which reference is made merely refers to the dates prescribed by Statute, no alteration of the dates could be made without an alteration of the law. As the County Council Elections will be held on the same day as the Muncipal Elections—namely, the 1st of November—no longer time can be given except by altering the preliminary stages of registration, and I am advised that to alter the dates of those stages of registration, which under the existing system are conducted by overseers, would lead to great confusion and inaccuracy. I must, at the same time, point out that the revision of the Lists by the Revising Barristers is to commence as soon as possible after the 7th of September, and that the Clerks of the Peace are furnished with the Revised Lists as the revision proceeds, and that consequently the interval between the last day within which the revision must take place and the date of the completion of the Registers does not represent 1648 the period allowed for the printing of the Register. I may add that I hope to be able to arrange that the revision shall be promptly proceeded with by the Revising Barristers, so as to secure the completion of the revision at an earlier date than the latest period permitted by the Act.