The Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, 1890. THE SHOW OF HANDS.
In view of # the fact that a general election is comparatively close at hand —that is to say must eventuate within a very few months—no doubt one of the matters which will come before the now rapidly approaching session of Parliament will be that of the revision of the electoral laws. Already it is known that the Government intend to propose various alterations in connection with the registration of electors, and while they are about it they would do well to consider whether the modus bperandi of the elections themselves cannot be in various particulars amended. One such particular", for example, is the present useless and ofter misleading custom of taking a " show of hands " at the nomination. Not to say, as might be said, that it is an infringement of the system of secret voting provided by the ballot, at anyrate an infringement of its principle, the show of hands is as we have said a misleading custom and therefore a useless, and to some extent mischievous one which were better honored in the breach than in the observance. Our Rangitikei contemporary very properly draws attention to this anachronistic survival of an exploded order of things and cannot understand why candidates are not allowed to send in written nominations, as they are in Victoria, and as candidates for seats in County Councils, Borough Councils and Road Boards are in New Zealand. It goes on to say :—" Before the nominations, the candidates as a rule travel all over the constituencies, and* make their views known to the persons whose suffrages they are soliciting. Long reports of the speeches are published in the newspapers, and by the time nomination day arrives the public are generally tired to death of hearing the candidates and their canvassers and reading about them. Yet, forsooth, this is not enough ! Platforms must be erected in the electoral centres all over the colony, and from these the proposers and seconders of the candidates and the candidates themaelves are expected to deliver additional harangues. The returning officers then call for ' shows of hands,' and somebody representing one of the candidates who has not had as many hands held up in his favor as some other candidate demands a poll, and the returning officer solemnly announces that a poll y^Ul be taken on such and such a day, c The show of hands' in any but a purely urban constituency is a hollow sham, and it veiy frequently happens that the man who has the biggest show at the hustings is nowhere when the hurly-burly's done and the battle lost and won. Imagine the value of a ' show of hands' in a constituency like Waitotara or Waikato, stretching a longday's journey from one end to the other ! It is now, we believe, definitely decided that there shall be another session of the present Parliament, opening about the middle of June. It is not, therefore, too late to suggest that honorable members should pass a short Act substituting written for oral nominations of candi dates for the House of Representatives. If they were to do this, the electors^ \yould—il-a-vo —**o<"">it—fc© — \}o— fcliecnlrfUT- to I them, and all haters of humbug would bless them." With all which we entirely concur, and hope that the sensible sug- j . gesticn of our contemporary will be carried into effect,