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Thursday, 14 June 1928

Mr YATES (Adelaide) .- The. honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Foster), and the honorable member for New England (Mr. Thompson), suggested that the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin) and I, knew something about electoral malpractices of which the Electoral Department knew nothing. There is no justification whatever for that accusation and I defy the honorable members to substantiate it. It has been said that it is possible under the absent voting provisions for a person to vote two or three times. I totally disagree with that. Everyone who has had anything to do with the administration of the Electoral

Act or "who has been present at a scrutiny, knows that a person who desires to record an absent vote must make a declaration on a specified form and sign his name. The vote is then recorded and the paper folded over and glued down. Then the envelope is sealed and conveyed intact to the returning officer. If I were to record an absent vote as George Edwin Yates, Prospect, and attempted to do the same, thing later in. the day, it would certainly be discovered. It would be possible to compare the signature on the second vote with the signature on the first, and the two signatures with my signature on the enrolment card in the electoral office. In the light of these facts it is foolish for the honorable member for Wakefield and others to make such ridiculous allegations. The honorable member for New England said that absent voting could not be safeguarded from malpractice, but in my opinion it is even safer than the ordinary open vote. It is well known that impersonation has occurred at different times in regard to the open vote. I remember that on one occasion the Rev. Henry Howard was recorded as having voted at the Halifax-street Church polling booth, in East Adelaide, and also at the Adelaide Town Hall. I do not think that any honorable member who knew the reverend gentleman would even think of accusing him of attempting to duplicate his vote. On another occasion the wife of the late Mr. W. C. Melbourne, Secretary of the Printing Industry Employees Union of South Australia, went to a polling booth to record her vote and was informed that she had already voted, though she had not done so.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Bayley).The honorable member is now dealing with the ordinary vote, which is not the matter before the chair.

Mr YATES - I am endeavouring to prove that the absent vote is safeguarded to an even greater extent than the open vote.

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