The Ashburton Guardian. Magna et Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 1890. PURGING THE ROLLS.
The electoral rolls throughout the colony require purging. There is no doubt; of that; and m making this an excuse for postponing the election? tho Government h.ivo scored a tactical victory. The excuse is a good one, however much the motive may be. doubted which prompted it. On some of the new rolls which have come under our notice Aye observe the names of person.-; who have been deceased for years past j the names of. others «vho have left the colony; and the names of residents m the electorate duplicated, and m some instances even triplicated. Such anomalies as those referred to are not surprising m colonial settlements where the population is principally remarkable for tits mobility. At every periodical election the same complaints have been urged with more or less justice. The $>opdlation being a shifting one, it cannot -be otherwise. A thorough revision of the rolls will no doubt assist to make the official lists of electors more reliable; but we cannot hope for or expect that, even after revision, the rolls ■,- AVill be perfectly free from errors^ \ Tlie work of revision cannot be overtaken m a month, however much gojod it may do. Under no system tliat we know,of can the rolls be compiled or revised so as to be thoroughly free of errors; but we do think that they could be much improved if more care and judgment were exercised m the work of compilation. We know of no reason why the compilation of the main rolls should net be set about six months before each triennial Parliamentary election, instead of, as at present about six weeks or two months. There is really no necessity that all the rush and bustle should take place on the eve of an election. Each Registrar, if so authorised by Parliament, could, say six months before an election, send? a formal circular to the address of each person whose name appears on the roll, warning him that unless a reply foe sent to the communication, showing cause to the contrary, his name would be omitted from the new roll. Two months after this course had been adopted the main roll could be placed m the hands of the printers, and afterwards lie open for inspection for, say, two months at the various Pout offices and the offices of public bodies throughout the colony. This would. 1" ensure almost absolute correctness so far as the main rolls are concerned; and m the interim the respective .registrars could proceed to leisurely compile the supplementary rolls up to within' a month, of the day of election. The names omitted from the- main roll would be comprised m the supplementary rolls, which, as we hate said, could be brought down to within a few weeks of the date of election. The supplementary rolls would thus he almost, if not quite, as reliable as the main rolls, and there would be an absence of many stupid blunders which now disgrace almost every roll m the colony, and which leave so many doors open for dual, A'oting and personification. As we have already remarked, under no system can we expect, m a now colony, to have either ■perfect main or supplementary rolls, but we surely can improve upon a plan whereby the errors contained m previous rolls are copied holus bolus, and perpetuated for all time. Under the system at present m force some of the rolls are absolutely creeping with blunders for which the unfortunate Registrars cannot m any way be held accountable. A large quantity of extra work is heaped upon them at a few days' notice, and rush, and bustle, and excitement takes the place of order, the natural consequence being that the electoral rolls are turned out as if compiled by schoolboys instead of intelligent public officers. Instead of taking necessary precautions beforehand to ensure something approaching correct; ness m thejrolls, the Atkinstm Government have followed m the old Jbeaten track, and are now engaged rectifying blunders, many of "which, by the ? exercise of ordinary care, need never have occuredjj