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Wednesday, 23 July 1902

Mr BAMFORD (Herbert) - I suggest that candidates, as well as the poll clerks, doorkeepers, and scrutineers mentioned in the clause, should be permitted to enter the polling booths. There are times when it is absolutely necessary that the candidate should be present in order to prevent irregularities. Even when the candidate has a scrutineer safeguarding his interests that officer sometimes desires to refer to his principal.

Mr. BATCHELOR(South Australia).It would be a great mistake to permit candidates to remain inside the polling booth. I remember one case in which the partners of a candidate stood outside the door of the booth and tried to influence electors. That was considered as something approaching a scandal, but if a candidate were permitted to exercise his influence upon voters in the booth, the position would be much worse.

Mr V L SOLOMON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Candidates should not be permitted to remain in the neighbourhood of the booth.

Mr BATCHELOR - There might be some advantage in permitting a scrutineer to consult a candidate, but as this would be done only in very few cases there is no great object to be gained by permitting the candidate to enter the booth. The scrutineer can always come out of the booth and consult the members of his committee.

Clause agreed to.

Clause . 139 - The polling shall be conducted as follows : - (i.) Before any vote is taken the presiding officer shall exhibit the ballot-box empty, and shall then securely fasten and seal its inner cover so that nothing can be removed without breaking the seal : (ii.) The poll shall open at eight o'clock in the morning, and shall not close until all electors present in the polling booth at seven o'clock in the evening, and desiring to vote, have voted : (iii.) At the close of the poll the presiding officer Shall publicly close, fasten, and seal the outer cover and take charge of the ballot-box, and with the least possible delay forward it for the purpose of scrutiny ; and it shall on no account be opened except as' allowed by this Act.

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