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The period after election within which this declaration must be made varies as follows:

(1) Municipal Borough Councillor-within five days after notice of election.

(2) Parish Councillor-at first meeting after election. (3) District Councillors and Guardians-may not act until they have made declarations.

(4) County Councillor-within three months of notice of election.

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THE LAW ABOUT MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS.

SYNOPSIS.

No Election Agent. Skilled Clerk may be employed.-Code under Municipal Elections Act, 1884.

Agency.-Who is an agent.

Corrupt Practices.-(1) Bribery.—(2) Treating.-(3) Undue Influence.-(4) Personation.-(5) False Declaration of Election Expenses.

Illegal Practices.—(▲) Avoiding election if committed by any agent of a candidate.

(1) Payment for conveyance of voters.

(2) Payment for exhibiting bills or notices.

(3) Payment for excessive Committee Rooms.

(4) Payment in excess of maximum allowed (Town and County Councils).

(B) Avoiding election if committed with knowledge and consent of candidate.

(5) Voting by prohibited persons.

(6) Publishing false statement of withdrawal of candidate.

(7) Illegal payment.

(8) Making use of prohibited conveyances.

(9) Corruptly procuring withdrawal of a candidate.

(10) Illegal employment for payment.

(11) Payment for marks of distinction.

(12) Omitting name and address of printer and publisher of bills.

(13) Using prohibited premises for committee rooms or meetings.

Avoidance of election for extensive prevalence of Illegal Practices by whomsoever committed.

Relief for innocent breaches of law.

Time for sending in claims and making payments.

Summary of periods specified.

Form of declaration of election expenses.

N.B.-Sections from the Municipal Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Act, 1884 [47 & 48 Vict. c. 70] and incorporated enactments are in this chapter reproduced in small type for the information of candidates and workers who may require to have before them the exact words of the Statutes defining practices prohibited, &c.

In applying the Act to elections other than elections for Town Councils:

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Borough is to be read as County" for County Council elections. Borough is to be read as "Urban District" for Urban District Council elections.

Borough is to be read as "Parish or United Parishes" for Rural District Council and Guardians elections.

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Borough is to be read as "Parish" for Parish Council elections. Ward is to be read as Electoral Division in County Council elections.

In Parliamentary elections the Legislature in its wisdom insists upon the appointment of some person who is to be responsible as Election Agent. It is true that the legal requirements are complied with if the person appointed pays all election expenses, and personally carries through certain business arrangements in connection with a Parliamentary Election, such as the hire of committee rooms and the employment of clerks and messengers. All the law cares for in the matter is that some responsible person shall be publicly named through whose hands payments on account of the election shall pass, and for whose faults or misdeeds, if any, the candidate for Parliament must answer practically as his own. But elections are hedged round by so many Acts of Parliament, and so much technical knowledge is necessary in carrying them through, that persons who are experts in election law are nearly always appointed to act as Election Agents in Parliamentary

contests.

In Municipal elections the position is different. Restrictions as regards County Council elections and in a lesser degree in other municipal contests are nearly as stringent, but no provision is made for the employment by a candidate of a responsible Election Agent. Indeed, seeing that the only persons he may employ for payment are the specified numbers of clerks and messengers, and one polling agent in each polling station, a County Council candidate is really prohibited from securing the paid services of a skilled Election Agent. At any rate he must not so call him. In practice what is done is to engage under the name of clerk, someone who has practical experience of election work, and who, therefore, can be trusted to take some part of the responsibility from the shoulders of the candidate. The remuneration to be given can hardly be large, having regard to the limits laid down in County and Town Council elections for maximum expenses. The fee for a skilled clerk who can be trusted to keep the candidate on safe lines as well as to assist him in electioneering work must bear some relation to the size of the constituency and the maximum (if any) fixed for expenses. In a County Council contest it would probably range from £15 15s. upwards. If he can secure it, a candidate is of course entitled to the unpaid assistance of a professional political agent of experience. Where such assistance is used, or where responsible duties in the management of an election are left to a clerk, a return of all expenses incurred by him must be made to the candidate within 23 days after the date of election. In Parish and District Council contests, as also, curiously enough in

elections to London Borough Councils, no limit is set to expenditure, although as in County Council elections the only persons who may be employed for payment are clerks, messengers, and polling agents. A simple statement of the law by which municipal candidates may guide their conduct is therefore particularly important as many such candidates cannot hope to command the services of legal experts for the contest.

By the Municipal Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Practices) Act, 1884, Parliament has laid down a special code of morals applicable to these elections. In using the expression "morals," it must be confessed at once that the Parliamentary table of electoral commandments travels outside the strict province of ethics. It does so in this wise. Offences against the code are of two classes. First we have what the law calls Corrupt Practices, and these are easily to be understood, as they are actions done with the intent to commit a wrong. An evil motive enters into them which at least prevents them from being perpetrated inadvertently. Under this head fall Bribery, Treating, Undue Influence, Personation and False Declaration of Election Expenses. The second class of prohibitions laid down by Parliament is where the Legislature has travelled, at any rate in some respects, beyond the average man's moral code of conduct. In what the law terms Illegal Practices we have a list of actions that have been well described as "things which the Legislature is determined to prevent, whether done honestly or dishonestly." That is to say, a good conscience will not help a man in this matter. Certain things, the law declares, must not

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