Monday, April 19, 2021

Is It Legal To Offer Any Benefit To Demand For Votes?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Section 116 of the Elections Act forbids corrupt electoral practices.

It states: “(1) The term “corrupt practice” as used in this Act means bribery, treating, undue influence or personation as provided in this Part or aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of personation.

(2)  A corrupt practice shall be deemed to be committed by a candidate if it is committed with his or her knowledge or consent or by a person who is acting under the general or special authority of the candidate with reference to the election.

(3) Where a corrupt practice is committed by a candidate elected at an election held under the provisions of this Act, the election of the candidate shall be invalid.”

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Let us now examine what is meant by Bribery under the Elections Act. Section 117 reads among other things: 

(1)  A person is guilty of bribery if he or she-

(a)    directly or indirectly, by himself or herself or by any other person on his or her behalf, gives, lends, agrees to give or lends, offers, promises, or promises to procure or endeavour to procure any money or valuable consideration to or for any other person, in order to induce any voter to vote or refrain from voting or does any such act on account of the voter having voted or refrained from voting at an election;

(b)    directly or indirectly, by himself or herself or by any other person on his or her behalf, gives or procures or agrees to give or procure or offers, promises or promises to procure or endeavour to procure any office, place or employment to or for any other person in order to induce a voter to vote or refrain from voting or does any such act on account of the voter having voted or refrained from voting at an election;

(c)       directly or indirectly, by himself or herself or by any other  person on his or her behalf, makes any gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement to or for any person in order to induce the person to procure or to endeavour to procure the return of a person  at an election or the vote of a voter at an election;

(d)     on or in consequence of any gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement, procures or engages or promises or endeavours to procure the return of a person at an election or the vote of a voter at an election;

(e)      advances or pays or causes to be advanced or paid any money to or for the use of any other person with the intent that the money, or any part of the  money, shall be expended in bribery at an election or who knowingly pays or causes to be paid money wholly or in part expended in bribery at an election;

(f)    before or during  an election, directly  or indirectly, by himself or her¬self or by any other person on his or her behalf, receives, agrees or contracts for any money, gift, loan or valuable consideration, office, place  or employment for  himself or herself or for another person for voting or agreeing to vote or for refraining or agreeing to refrain from voting at an election; or

(g)      after  an  election, directly or indirectly, by himself or herself or by any other person on his or her behalf, receives any money or valuable consideration on account of a person having voted or refrained from voting or having induced any other person to vote or refrain from voting at the election.” 

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