§ GENERAL FRASER (Lambeth, N.)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board if, in view of the fact that out of 28,308 voting papers filled up in the recent Lambeth Free Library polling, 9,358 were officially declared to be spoiled, and that the majority in favour of the extra halfpenny was only 374, he will, before allowing this extra halfpenny to be paid out of the Lambeth Poor Rates, cause an inquiry to be made into the assertions of many inhabitants that the immense number of spoilt voting papers was the consequence of the way in which the question was put to the voters, and, further, that persons went about the poorer districts of North Lambeth telling the voters not to append their names to the papers, as voting was on this occasion by ballot?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. RITCHIE,) Tower Hamlets, St. George's
I have communicated with the Vestry Clerk of the Parish of Lambeth with reference to the recent voting, and I am informed that there were 9,358 voting papers officially declared to be invalid. Of these 7,163 were blank papers not marked in any way, so that the number of papers which were invalid for defect in marking of all sorts was 2,195. The number of votes was 18,950. The voting paper was in the form prescribed by the Statute, and showed on the face of it that it must bear the signature of the voter. The presiding officer states that no voter has made any complaint or statement to him as to any particular case in which the voter was told not to append his name to the voting paper. As regards the inquiry whether the 559 Local Government Board, before allowing the extra halfpenny rate to be paid, will cause an Inquiry to be made into the assertion referred to in the question, I must point out that the Local Government Board have no jurisdiction in the matter, and that no sanction on their part to the levying of the rate is required.