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led to change his views. And thus any charge of infringing individual freedom seems to me to be at once disposed of.’*
The next step, after defining the offence, is to apply a sanction sufficiently strong to induce compliance with the law in order to escape the penalty, rather than by committing the offence for the sake of the advantages it offers to run the risk of incurring the penalty. To ascertain an appropriate and effective sanction, we must inquire what are the motives, or the desires, or the advantages sought, which induce the individual to act contrary to the proposed law, and then apply sanctions sufficient to counteract such seducing motives, and to induce him to act in accordance with such law. Let us take as an instance of the way in which an appropriate penalty is to be aimed at, section 5 -—-canvassing by the candidate. Here the corrupting motives are all those wishes which go to make up (not to subdivide further) the desire to write M.P. after his name. We at once set off against this as a tutelary motive the fear of having the election rendered void (section I). And since the duration of the anticipated good is the length of that Parliament, the evil is made of as long duration (section 2). But the evil is wanting both in certainty and proximity—it is uncertain whether the election will be avoided though corrupt, for it may be that no one will petition, &c., and the being elected is the main consideration, while the possibility of its being avoided is a subsequent affair, and should the candidate not be elected, the offence would be incapable of punishment unless some further penalty were added. The punishment must accordingly be increased in quantity or magnitude, in order to counteract this double deficiency. For this end, as well as from other considerations, the penalties of section 4 are made to apply to every person. Moreover, the second of
. Is not, however, the “ individual freedom " of the candidate here infringed F -120.
these clauses is intended to have the effect of reducing the want of certainty of incidence of the penalty, by making it the interest of others to assist in maintaining the law by informing against offenders. By the same method the other penalties should be arrived at.
Before coming to the Bill, I will offer a few words by way of further explanation.
Preamble.—I have adopted a preamble in order, as Bentham would say, to form the moral sanction, or by branding the practice, for weighty reasons concisely summarised, with the disapprobation of the Legislature, to induce public opinion—whicl1 would be the most effective preventive—to
follow in the same wake. C laase 2.—A similar duration to that of other election Acts
as extended seems advisable. And here I will take the opportunity of stating that though I believe such a measure as suggested would be beneficial, that is not in my opinion the best way of dealing with the evil. The whole body of election law requires to be dealt with as such.
The few scores of statutes require consolidating, many of them (e.g., the Ballot Act) require to be amended and made to work harmoniously one with the other ; the product would then be capable of being considerably reduced in bulk. Moreover it would seem necessary to extend the remedy to municipal elections, but from a regard to conciseness and clearness I have limited the scope of the Bill to Parliamentary Elections.
The principle of the Bill is shortly as follows 2-
Clause 3.—Several frequently recurring terms having for the sake of brevity and perspicuity been defined,
Clause 4.——-Proceeds to render certain acts therein enumerated offences involving liability to certain penalties, by whomsoever committed, and
Clause 5.—-Adds still further penalties to such acts when committed by a candidate. A proviso exempts from the
penalties against undue influence all such acts as have for their object the legitimate end of convincing the judgment ; and canvassing is made to come within the Acts regulating election petitions and proceedings to recover penalties.
Clause 6.—Renders canvassing ineffectual by striking off a vote for every canvassed vote.
Clauses 7 and 8.—Constitute the paying or receiving payment for canvassing bribery within the Act dealing with that offence. . .
Clauses 9 and Io.—Deal with certain special cases of
The Bill might have been drawn more concisely, but from a desire to render it as free from technicality and as intelligible as possible, as well as from a regard to the advice of Sir Henry Thring, I have sacrificed brevity to clearness— “ Law,” says the Parliamentary Counsel, “is made for man and not man for law; it is too often forgotten by lawyers and draughtsmen that the greater number of Acts of Parliament contain rules of conduct to be observed by illiterate persons and to be enforced by authorities unacquainted with technical language.’’
44 & 45 Vict.]
THE Canvassmo ABOLITION Acr, 1881.
WHEREAS the practice of canvassing at Parliamentary Elections is burdensome to candidates, debasing to electors, an infringement of the principles of the Ballot, and a covert for corrupt practices, and it is therefore expedient to abolish such practice:
BE it enacted by the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows :
1. Short Title.—This Act may be cited as “The Canvassing Abolition Act, 1881.”
2. Commencement and Duration.—This Act shall come into operation on the day of , 1881, and shall continue in force until the .
3.—In this Act
“ Agent.”—The term “Agent " means any person engaged by a candidate to canvass for him, or whose canvassing has been sanctioned by a candidate, or any person being the wife or child or parent of a candidate, or any person proved to have been an election agent.
“ Candidate."—-The term “ Candidate ” means any person elected to serve in Parliament at an election, and any person who has been nominated as, or declared himself a candidate at an election.
“ Canvass."—T he term “ Canvass” means to do any of the acts enumerated in section 4..
“ Canvass-book."—The term “ Canvass-book ” means any note or memorandum of not less than three acts of canvassing.
“ Do.”—T he term “ do ” includes to forbear from doing.
“ Promise."-—The term “ promise" includes to bind oneself in any way.
“ Vote."—The term “ Vote ” includes to abstain from voting.
“ Voter."—The term “ Voter” means any person who has, or claims to have a right to vote in the election of a member to serve in Parliament.
4. Canvassing, Acts of.—Every person who shall directly or indirectly solicit or persuade, or endeavour to persuade any voter
(I.) To promise to vote for any candidate ; or
t2.) To state for which candidate he intends voting; or
(3.) To promise to disclose after the election for which candi
date he shall have voted ; or
(4.) To do any act to which voting for any candidate is
annexed as a condition or obligation ; or solicit, or persuade, or endeavour to persuade any person who has any influence over a voter ;
(5.) To promise that such voter shall vote for any candidate; or
(6.) To state for which candidate such voter intends voting; or
(7.) To promise to disclose after the election for which candi
date such voter shall have voted ; or
(8.) To do any act to which voting for any candidate is annexed as a condition or obligation ;
Or make, or cause to be made, a canvass-book, or be in
possession thereof without being able to account for the same, Shall be deemed guilty of canvassing, and the following consequences shall ensue, that is to say :
Penalt-ies.—-I. He shall be incapable of being registered as a voter, and ofvoting at any election in the United Kingdom during seven years next after the date of his being found guilty; and
2. He shall be liable for each act of canvassing to forfeit the sum of £50 to any person who shall sue for the same, together with full costs of suit, or, in default thereof, to be imprisoned for each ofl'ence for any term not exceeding three months, such terms of imprisonment to run successively.
Provided that no person shall be guilty of canvassing under sub-sections (2) and (6) of this section unless at least three cases of such canvassing, either of the same kind, or partly of one and partly of the other, shall be proved against him.
Canvassing shall be deemed an “ undue influence " within the meaning of “The Corrupt Practices Prevention Act, 1854. " (I7 & 18 Vict., c. 102), and any penalty hereby imposed shall be deemed a penalty under that Act, and shall be recoverable in manner mentioned in section 9 of that Act.
5. Canvassing by Candidate.—Aots.—Every candidate who shall, directly or indirectly, either personally or by agent, do any of