DISCHARGED SOLDIERS' VOTES.
WELLINGTON, April 1. 'A statement regarding the allegation that certain soldiers will not have the opportunity of voting at the licensing poll was made by the Acting-Prime Minister (Sir James Allen) to a reporter to-day.
" Apparently there is a great agitation, which has been created," said the Minister, "on the statement that certain soldiers will not have the opportunity to vote on t-he licensing.question on April 10. As the Government has made every possible provision to allow members of the Expeditionary Force to vote, whether in England or at sea, or back in New Zealand, and undischarged, and as it has also given every opportunity to discharged men to enrol, to the extent latterly of placing a form for enrolment at their disposal, it is difficult to fathom the reason for this agitation. It may come from some returned soldiers who are discharged, and liiive not taken the opportunity to enrol, but I can secure no definite information of this factor. When the deputation met me, with Sir Francis Bell, three of the returned soldiers' representatives were asked if they knew ol a single ease in which a discharged soldi«r would not be able to vote, and they answered, 'no.' Mr Brodie, a m-ovineial president of the New Zealand Fanners' Union, in a telegram to me, indicated that there were some who would, be disfranchised. When asked f he knew of any, he replied: 'Will do what we can to locate disfranchised men.' He had not located them, so far, evidently. Mr Sidey, M.P., also telegraphed to me on the subject, and in response to my enquiry whether lie knew of any men who -would be unable to' vote, ho stated : ' Have endeavoured to ascertain the number of returned soldiers disfranchised in Dunedin. So far as I have been able to gather there are very few.' May I call attention to the fact that he does not say -there are any. Mr Gunson, Mayor of Auckland, who has also telegraphed to me, states, in response to my telegram: 'In reply to your telegram of March 24 as to number affected in Auckland district, it is impossible for me to assess these, but there is a considerable number who have already represented the position to me. and the Returned Soldiers' Association advises me also that the number will be considerable.' I telegraphed to the Returned Soldiers' Association oil March 26: 'I shall be glad if you will inform me whether you have any definite information as to number of returned discharged soldiers in Aiickland district who find themselves unable to vote at licensing poll on April 10." So far I have received no reply.
" I think the returned soldiers and the public have sufficient insight to realise what the object 'of the agitation is. There is a very important question to decide on April 10, and those on either side who are actively fighting the battle for their own sections are determined to lose no opportunity to enlist sympathy and secure votes."
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9575, 2 April 1919
LICENSING POLL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9575, 2 April 1919
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