§ FIRST READING.
§ MR. WYLD,
in moving for leave to bring in a Bill relating to the mode of taking votes at elections, said, it would be a mistake to confound his Bill with the Ballot. The system which he wished to introduce might be either open or secret. Hon. Gentlemen of all parties concurred in the desire to remove the stain of corruption from our electoral system, and all the evidence before the Select Committee which 1675 had sat lately showed that it was necessary that some alteration should he made in the mode of taking votes. He proposed that when a man presented himself at the polling-booth to vote his name and residence should be asked, and that, having satisfied the returning officer of his identity, a paper should be handed to him having his number on the register printed outside, and the names of the candidates printed inside. He should then go into an adjoining room, and strike out the name of the candidate for whom he did not vote. This might be done either secretly or openly. [An ineffectual attempt was made to count out the House.] His object was not so much to give an explanation of the Bill as to lay it on the table in order that it might be considered, and, perhaps, at some future time incorporated in a great Government measure. The system which he proposed was somewhat similar to the Australian ballot system. It might be said that they ought not to receive suggestions from Australia, but he took the liberty of saying that any suggestion was worthy of attention, no matter from what part of the world it came, provided it came from those who bad tried our legislative system. He begged to move for leave to bring in a Bill to alter and amend the law and practice in taking votes at elections.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, he under-stood that the Bill had mainly for its object the introduction of a system of voting papers as practised in our Colonies. That system was, in fact, engrafted on the Bill which was proposed by Her Majesty's late Government, and which was under the consideration of the House last Session. As that was the ease, there was no objection to the repetition of the proposition in the Bill of the hon. Member.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, it must not be supposed that, in consenting to the introduction of the Bill, the Government would support it. It might well be imagined that under the misty covering in which the hon. Gentleman enveloped his proposal, a nucleus of the Ballot was contained within it.
§ MR. HADFIELD
said, the noble Lord need be under no apprehension that he would be prejudiced by assenting to the introduction of this measure.
Bill to alter and amend the Law and practice relating to the taking of Votes at Elections for Members to serve in Parliament.
§ Ordered to be brought in by Mr. WYLD and Mr. CHILDERS."
§ Bill presented, and read 1° to be read 2° on 24th July, and to be printed [Bill 248].