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Whatever may 'he thought of the value of his * political ideas—and it must be m fairness admitted, even by those who are not believers m the New Zealand G.0.M., that he now and then brings forward a good one—it is an undeniable fact that Sir George Grey never pays any attention to the details necessary to the proper working of them out. We are ourselves believers m the one-man-one-vote principle, but we do not''believe with Sir George Grey that' its adoption is going to bring about something like a political revolution. The fact ie that only a very few persons hitherto have ever voted m more than one electorate, and the disappearance for the future of these duplicate votes will not have any appreciable effect on the elections generally. The knightly member for Auckland East, m his many references last session, m season and out of season, to the clause which, m the previous year, he, almost by accident, moved into a Goverment Bill, attaches to it an altogther exaggerated importance even if they were completely operative. The clause- m question which stands part of " The Representation Act Amendment Act, 1889," is as follows :— 4. (1). From and after the passing of this Act no elector shall at any election of members of the Hfouse of Representatives vote m respect of more than one electorate, and any person voting m respect of more than one electorate shall be guilty of an offence under this section. (2). The Returning Officer or Deputy Returning Officer may, and if so required by any scrutineer shall, at any election, before allowing any person to vote,, put to such person the following question: " Have you already voted at the present election m any electoral district V and, unless such person answers such question m the negative, he shall not be permitted to vote, and any person giving a false answer to such question shall be guilty of an offence under this section. Now it will be seen at a glance that this only applies to a general election, the words being " any" election of members of the House of .Representatives " and not " any election of a member," the form of the question m sub-section 2 ' emphasising this fact. Then again it is held that the words " this present election " do not prevent the dual Maoi'i vote, the polling for Maori members under " The Native Representation Act" taking place on a different day and under different regulations to those appointed for the general (European) election. The fact is Sir George's one-inan-one-vofce clause is only partially effectivje, and needs to be supplemented by' fjifther legislation to make it completely so. How the clause, as it stands, may work but m possible contingencies is thus shown by the " Wellington Evening Post" : —" We will take the case of Wellington and the Hutt for instance.. A great number of residents of the City, Palmerston, and Wairarapa districts, possess qualifications m the- Hutt electorate, and> are registered. At the general election they will probably vote m the district they reside 'm; but suppose the Hutt election is petitioned against and upset, or found to be informal, or the member returned resigns or his disqualified, or dies, m fact if any of the numerous contingencies which may vacate a seat occurs, and a new election takes place, all the Hutt electors who have already used their votes m the election of members m the district they reside m, will be quite at liberty to record their votes at the new Hutt election. They will, m faqt, then have voted m two districts for choice of representatives to the same Parliament. Where then is-the boasted equality of : political power ? It may possibly happen that during a Parliament an elector with a suffi : cient number of qualifications may have m the House six or seven members whom he has assisted to place there. If we were to suppose that m the Egmont district Mr M'Guire defeats Sir . Harry , Atkinson by say a dozen votes at the general election, and by petition Sir Harry could m some way or other upset the return and obtain a fresh poll, he would probably be able get to a sufficient contingent of electors from surrounding districts, but qualified m Egmont, to make, his return a certainty on tho second occasion. A prospect of this kind would afford a strong incentive to petition after a closely fought election. In many districts also at the general election the return of their favorite candidate may be so certain that thosewho possess votes m neighboring districts when v a close contest is going on, may prefer voting m the latter to throwing away their votes m the district where there residential qualification exists. An elector with a dual qualification may actually nominate a candidate m one district, and then record his Vote m another district. Sir George Grey has not by any means yet succeeded m establishing perfect electoral and political equality. What he has done is m fact very imperfect, and m many iespects will prove ineffective."

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Bibliographic details

ONE MAN ONE VOTE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2541, 11 October 1890

Word Count

ONE MAN ONE VOTE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2541, 11 October 1890