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by 18 G. 2, c. 18, s. 1, a year's possession of the estate, Year's posand by 20 G. 3, c. 17, s. 1, six months assessment to the land tax, before the owner should be entitled to vote.
The voter must therefore have been “in the actual pos“ session of (his freehold) or receipt of the rents and
profits thereof to his own use, above twelve calendar months,”
," " unless the same came to him within the 6 time aforesaid by descent, marriage, marriage settle
ment, devise, or promotion to any benefice in a church, or by promotion to an office.”
A voter had been let into possession of the freehold, under an agreement, more than a twelvemonth before the Election, but the conveyance was not executed till within the year, upon which conveyance the receipt of the purchase money was acknowledged by an indorsement of the same date, the indorsement was not received as evidence to fix bis possession from that time only, and so defeat the
Vide other cases ante applicable to this head under title “ Equitable Freehold.” (b)
The Act does not specify whether the twelve months are to be computed from the day appointed for the Election, or the day on which the vote is given. Mr. Serjeant Heywood thinks it should be reckoned from the day on which the voter takes the oath and actually gives his vote. (C) But see the Seaford case, (d) and 3 Doug. 234, n. e.
A person married during the Election has a right to vote at the same Election for premises to which he became entitled by marriage. (e)
The exception of lands coming by devise or descent has been carried to a very extravagant length; for in almost every contested county Election it happens, that before the poll is closed, some of those who have voted die, and the son has been always allowed to vote at the same Election, for the lands for wbich the father bad voted before, although it came to him by devise, descent, or marriage, even after. the poll begun. (f).
O Middlesex, 2 Peck, 115.
© Middlesex, 2 Peck, 115. Bedford, 2 Lud, 427.
(1) 1 Doug. 272.
ASSESSMENT TO THE LAND TAX.
The first statute which bore relation to this subject, was the 10 Anne, c. 23, (explained and modified by 12 Anne, st. 1, c. 5,) requiring the freehold to be assessed to the public taxes, church rates, and parish duties, in the same proportion with other freeholds of 40s. with a view to ascertain the value. The clause containing the above requisition was repealed by the 18 Geo. 2, c. 18, which required that the freehold should be assessed to the landtax twelve months before the Election. Then the 20 Geo. 3, c. 17, s. 1, without noticing any of the prior Acts, except by observing, that they are difficult to be carried into execution, enacted, “ that no person shall vote for the electing " of any knight or knights of the shire to serve in Parlia“ment (within England or Wales) in respect of any mes
suages, lands or tenements, which have not for sir calendar “ months next before such Election been charged or assessed “ towards some aid granted, or to be granted to his Majesty, “ his heirs or successors, by a land-tax, in case any such aid “ be then granted and assessable, in the name of the person
or persons who shall claim to vote at such Election, for or “ in respect of any such messuages, lands, or tenements, or " in the name of his or their tenant or tenants, actually occu“pying the same as tenant or tenants of the owner or land. “ lord thereof;" with certain exceptions specified in a subsequent clause.
Though this Act is intituled, “ An Act to remove cer. “ tain difficulties relative to voters at County“ Elections," it appears by no means to have had its intended effect; and Mr. Serjeant Heywood states, that the objections founded upon it make a principal part of this branch of the law. The statute gives a form of assessment in the schedule, which the assessors are required to pursue by s. 3. Yet the Bedfordshire Committee found it necessary to come to the following resolution,
16 That it is not necessary that the form of the schedule should be strictly com“ plied with.” Indeed the greater part of the difficulties appear to have arisen from the form of the assessment, which occasioned contradictory resolutions in the different Committees before which it was considered. To prevent
the recurrence of such inconvenience, the 30 Geo. 3, c. 35, Assessment, was passed, which reciting “ that the form of the assess"ment prescribed by the above mentioned Act denotes, that “ the names both of the proprietor and occupier ought to be “ specified ;” and doubts have arisen, whether if such form be not strictly pursued, the suffrage of the person claiming to vote be admissible, requires, s. 1, “ either that the free“ hold shall have been assessed for six calendar months “ before the Election, in the name of the person claiming to “ vote, although the name of the tenant or tenants actually
occupying such messuages, lands, or tenements, shall not be 65 inserted in such assessment according to the form of assess-,
ments to the said first recited Act annexed, or (s. 2) in the “ name of a tenant, or tenants actually occupying the same at “ the time of such assessment being made, although the name of the
person so claiming to vote, fc. shall not be inserted in " the assessment according to the form of the assessment to the “ said first recited Act annexed.” It was contended in the Middlesex case, that the last statute only applied where either the owner or tenant was wholly omitted, and the other rightly named; but after some discussion, the following rule was entered on the minutes of the Committee by agreement: 66 That if either the name of owner, as owner,
or that of occupier, as occupier of the freehold voted for, appears rightly upon the assessment; that is, if either be right, though the other be wrong, such voter shall be “ deemed rightly assessed.” As where Thomas Garman had at the poll given in as his occupier John Garman; on the assessment Ann Garman appeared as the proprietor, and John Garman as occupier, the vote was declared good. (a)
When votes are questioned before Committees upon objections to the assessment, two conditions are necessary to support them. One, that the assessment sufficiently corresponds with the description of the freehold, &c. upon the poll; another, that the freehold is duly assessed.
1st. Where the description on the poll varies from the assessment.
It must frequently happen, as in the Middlesex case, Agreement of that the owner or tenant is assessed, by a name dif- poll and asfering from that which appears on the poll (although the sessment.
(%) 2 Peck, 65-6.
assessment is really meant to be made upon the same person) either by the christian name being different, or omitted, or put with initials only, or by the spelling of the surname, or by the person being described, not by his name, but by his office, situation, or character. (a)
With respect to an insufficiept description of the christian name, the Committee determined, “ that where the “ christian name of a voter on the poll varies from that on “ the assessment book, the party supporting the validity “ of the vote shall be called upon to justify such variation.” The same “ where no christian name, or the initials only,
appeared on the assessment,” (b) and in such case the assessor or collector of the land-tax was admitted to prove the voter to be the person actually intended to be assessed. (C)
With regard to the variation of surnames no general rule was laid down, but each particular case decided on its own grounds, it ing held necessary, however, to shew that there was no person of the name described on the poll in the occupation of the premises, before it could be inferred that the name on the poll, though different from that on the assessment, was really intended for the same person. (d)
Besides those cases of misdescription and variance which required evidence of identity to establish the vote, other cases occurred where, though the tenant's name upon the poll agreed with that upon the as. sessment, yet it appeared that some other person was rated as proprietor, as for example, T. Noble, a voter, had named himself as occupier of the freehold; the premises were assessed in his name as occupier, but in the name of another
person as proprietor; in such a case, the Committee suspecting that a stranger might offer himself to vote for premises to which he had no title, called upon the party supporting the vote, to prove the voter's title, and shew that he was proprietor also. (°)
But where no proprietor was assessed, and the occupier on the poll and assessment appeared the same, no further
evidence has been required. (a) Unless it appeared that Assessment the occupier on the poll and in the assessment had other lands in the same parish. (6)
So where the name of the tenant, on the poll and as. sessment being the same, the name of the proprietor was not inconsistent with that of the voter on the poll, as A. B. the voter, assessed late C. D. or Mr. B. the vote has been allowed. (C)
The nature of the freehold as described upon the poll freehold on must also agree with that on the assessment. Where it the poll and
assessment.; . was described on the poll as “ ground,” and the assessment was for a house, the vote was disallowed. (d)
But where the freehold described upon the poll was that of an office, as “ master of the Charter House,” and the freehold assessed was a house,” which he held in virtue of such office, it was holden well enough. (e)
It is the misdescription, and not the omission of a description, which renders the assessment insufficient. Where the elector voted for land in his occupation, and the assessment failed to distinguish the nature of the property, as whether it consisted of a house, or land, &c. the vote was allowed. And in this case, the assessor's evi. dence as to the nature of the freehold was rejected, it being only receivable in cases where there is some ambiguity, or inconsistency of description on the assessment, not where there is a total omission. (S)
The freehold should be described upon the poll in the same parish in which it is assessed. (6)
If a hamlet of a parish maintaining its own poor separately, has a separate ballot for the militia, separate churchwardens, and a separate land-tax assessment, a freehold assessed in the hamlet will be improperly described on the poll as in the parish. (h)
But a freehold assessed in the division of a parish, which division does not maintain its own poor, &c. is properly described on the poll as in the parish, (i)
The name of the street in which the freehold is situated, as described on the poll, must agree with the assessment;
© Peck, 70. (6) Gloster, 39. (*) 2 Peck, 69. (0) Ibid. 02 Peck, 72.
(1) 2 Peck, 73.