HC Deb 02 August 1944 vol 402 cc1407-9W
Mr. Driberg

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs if he will now circulate in HANSARD, as promised, particulars of the arrangements being made for members of the Canadian Forces serving in Europe and elsewhere to record their votes in the forthcoming Canadian federal election.

Mr. Emrys Evans

I am taking action, as suggested, to circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the information which has now been received from the Canadian authorities.

Arrangements to enable Canadians on war service to record their votes in the event of a General Election in Canada. Every Canadian on war service, man or woman, irrespective of age, when stationed outside of Canada, is entitled to vote at a General Election. War Service elector" includes every member of the naval, military, air and auxiliary forces of Canada. It includes also Red Cross, and St. John Ambulance workers, firefighters, merchant seamen and war correspondents. The voting is to be by ballot, upon which the War Service elector will write the name of the candidate of his choice, and such vote will be applied only in the electoral district in which the War Service elector resided prior to his enlistment, enrolment or appointment. Voting territories will be established for the United Kingdom, Italy, France, the Middle East, the British West Indies, Newfoundland and the Far East, as well as in the various provinces of Canada. A special returning officer will be stationed in each voting territory to superintend the taking, receiving, sorting and counting of the votes of War Service electors. The Ministers of National Defence will advise each special returning officer of the names of the commanding officers with whom he should communicate to make arrangements for the taking of the votes of War Service electors in each formation, unit, detachment, ship, or establishment. Before being allowed to vote, each War Service elector is required to make a declaration printed on the back of the outer envelope stating his name, rank, regimental number, that he is a British subject, that he has not voted before, and the name of the place in Canada where he resided prior to his enlistment. The votes of War Service electors will be cast before specially designated commissioned officers of the Navy, Army or Air Force, and transmitted by mail to the special returning officer in whose office the envelopes will be sorted, unopened, to their proper electoral districts, such sorting to be done by scrutineers nominated by the leaders of political parties and groups having a representation in the House of Commons of eight or more members. Nomination day in Canada will take place 28 days before polling day. Immediately thereafter, the names, surnames and political designation of candidates nominated in each electoral district will be cabled to each Overseas special returning officer. Each special returning officer is required to print such list and see that at least one copy is furnished to each voting place. Voting will take place on the twelve weekdays immediately preceding polling day, but ballots will not be counted until after the close of the polls in Canada, on election day. Counting of ballots will be completed in eight days by the above-mentioned scrutineers, under the supervision of special returning officers. The special returning officers will then cable to the Chief Electoral Officer the total number of ballots counted in their respective offices for each candidate in every electoral district. The Chief Electoral Officer will compute the figures received and advise the local returning officer accordingly. The totals will be taken into consideration before the declaration of the elected candidate is made in each electoral district. A Canadian prisoner of war is entitled to vote by proxy at a general election, such proxy being his next of kin recorded at Headquarters, and such vote will be cast in the polling division in which such next of kin is a qualified elector. This proxy voting will be by special proxy certificates issued by the Chief Electoral Officer after the necessary enquiries have been made.