The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 53
Rule for Forfeit
Rule for Forfeit.
If the method which is proposed were adopted for parliamentary elections, it is clear that the number of candidates would be very much greater than at present. In order to prevent the number becoming so great as to make the election unmanageable, it is necessary to provide some method for keeping the number of candidates within reasonable bounds. Such a provision exists for the method now in use. It is that any candidate who fails to obtain one-fifth of the number of votes polled by the lowest successful candidate forfeits the deposit which he has lodged with the returning-officer. This rule is, of course, purely empirical, and we must fix upon some rule of the same kind for the proposed method. I will first state a rule for the method as first described—i.e., when positive votes are used. This rule is as follows:—
If at the first scrutiny any candidate has a number of votes which is less than half the number of votes polled by the candidate who is highest at the first scrutiny, he shall forfeit his deposit.
In the mode of applying the method which is most convenient in practice this rule takes a somewhat more complicated form, as follows:—
If at the first scrutiny any candidate has a number of votes which, together with a number which is equal to half the number of electors, exceeds half the number of votes polled by the candidate who has the smallest number of votes by the average for the first scrutiny, he shall forfeit his deposit.