§ MR. BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board, with reference to the irregularities at the late election of Guardians of the Poor for the township of Runcorn, whether he is aware that the clerk's office is at Frodsham, a distance of eight miles from Runcorn, so that qualified electors who may not receive Voting Papers have either to-walk that distance or make a railway journey to obtain them; whether he is-also aware that the counting of the votes-takes place at Dutton Workhouse, which is still further from Runcorn, and not accessible by railway, so that it is practically impossible for anyone neglected by the distributor or collector of Voting Papers to record his vote; and, whether,. in view of the fact that the township of Runcorn contains more that half the population of the Union, and that contested elections in the other townships, are almost unknown, he will direct that Voting Papers should be procurable at the overseers' township office at Runcorn, and that the counting of the votes should take place there?
§ * THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. RITCHIE,) Tower Hamlets, St. George's
I am aware that the office of clerk to the Guardians of the Runcorn Union is at Frodsham, and that the Dutton Workhouse, where the counting of the votes, in the election of Guardians takes place, is still further from Runcorn. I find that, according to the Census of 1881, the-population of the township of Runcorn was considerably less than half that of the Union. A contested election took place in another township during the present year. The regulations applicable to the election of Guardians require that the counting of the votes shall take place at the Board-room of the Guardians, but it rests with the Returning Officer to fix the place at which Voting Papers may be procured by persons who have not received them. The Local Government Board will communicate with the Returning Officer, with a view to considering whether any alteration should be made in the places where Voting Papers may be procurable, and where the counting of the votes shall take place.