HC Deb 20 April 1891 vol 352 c927

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that at the recent North Sligo election, owing to a large number of illiterate voters presenting themselves at one time at one polling station, the forms for illiterate votes ran short, and in consequence that polling booth had to be closed for a considerable period, and also that, when many of the voters presented themselves to vote as illiterates, long discussions arose between the personation agents of the two candidates as to whether the several claims to vote as illiterates were bonâ fide ones or not, and in consequence great delay arose; were any persons who had not taken the oath of secrecy permitted to remain in the polling stations while the illiterates' votes were being taken; and whether the Government propose to cause inquiry to be made into the subject?


The Sheriff reports that it is the case that at No. 3 booth of Grange polling station the forms for illiterate voters ran short, but that the booth was not closed. Discussions did arise there between the personal tion agents as to the bonâ fide of some claims made to vote as illiterates. The Presiding Officer informs the Sheriff that he ordered out of the booth any person not producing a declaration of secrecy. Similar discussions as to inability to read occurred in the other booths. It appears from further inquiries that the number of illiterates was nearly accurately stated in the Press; I stated it inaccurately. It was 1,783.