EDITORIAL – Redcar Local Board
Accreditation The Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-Sea Gazette 13/04/1877.
REDCAR LOCAL BOARD.
The annual election of three members of this Board in place of those who retire in rotation took place on Tuesday last (10/04). The result is tabulated elsewhere, and it may be as well to call attention to some facts relating to the voting papers, which may point a model and afforded guidance in future to some of the ratepayers who allowed themselves to be misled. When we state that 113 voting papers were returned blank, it shows the extraordinary apathy which a number of ratepayers evince when the town’s interests are at stake: if all these papers have been filled up the result might perhaps have been of a different character. In addition to the above, no less than 100 voting papers were rejected on account of various informalities, one notable feature being the filling up of papers by unauthorised persons. It cannot be too closely understood that no person has a right to fill up another voter’s paper, unless the latter cannot write, and in that case the witness must fill up the paper entirely, and let the voter make his mark. That a deliberate attempt has been made to interfere with the free action of a considerable number of ratepayers is unquestionable, and to clear the ground for the future and to warn those officious and unscrupulous persons who presume to dictate and act in the name of others, we make the following extract from the Act of Parliament which bears on this point;_
“any person who –
“ Fabricates, in whole or in part, alters, defaces, destroys, abstracts or purloins any voting paper; or
“Personates any person entitled to vote at any election; or
“Falsely assumes to act in the name or on behalf of any person so entitled to vote; or
Interferes with the delivery or collection of any voting paper; or
“Delivers any voting paper under a false pretence of being authorised so to do,
“shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding £20, or, in the discretion of the Court, to imprisonment with or without hard labour for any period not exceeding three months.”
In conduct in the election the returning officer found it necessary to depute certain members of the Board to call upon several of the ratepayers, to ascertain whether there voting papers were valid. In executing this not very pleasant commission, a number of persons who ought to have known better endeavoured to hinder and obstruct these officials in the discharge of their duty by inciting a mob to hold and annoy them. It is not a pleasant task to point out that these irregularities, but as the freedom of the election is vested in the ratepayers, it is but just that those officers whose duty it is to conduct of the election should endeavour to secure fair play, and be supported by the ratepayers in their somewhat onerous and ungracious task.
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