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Thursday, 23 November 1911

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) (Honorary Minister) . - I move -

That the following new sub-clause be inserted after sub-clause 2 in proposed new section 139a : - " (2A.) Absent voters' ballot-papers containing votes and enclosed in any prescribed envelope may, if so provided by the regulations, be placed in any ballot-box in use at the polling booth at which the votes were cast, but notwithstanding anything contained in this Act a prescribed envelope containing an absent voter's ballot-paper shall (unless the regulations otherwise provide) only be opened andthe ballotpaper dealt with, as regards the scrutiny thereof and the counting of the votes thereon, by the Divisional Returning Officer for the division for which the voter claims to be enrolled."

This amendment makes a slight departure from the principal Act, under which it is possible for an assistant returning officer to do what is here provided. We desire to limit the power to a divisional returning officer.

Senator Walker - Will this amendment preserve the secrecy of the ballot in regard to the individual voter?

Senator FINDLEY - That is pretty well the sole object of the amendment.

Senator Walker - How is the name of "the voter to be known ?

Senator FINDLEY - The ballot-papers will be in envelopes, which will be sealed. No one will see them except the elector and 4he divisional returning officer.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments.

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