Morgan v Simpson: CA 1974

Voting papers that were invalid as a result of minor administrative errors by officials (and not the voters). Counting the invalid votes would have affected the election outcome.
Held: The election was declared void. Section 37(1) was not available to cure the defects, but rather it was to be used to ask whether the defects had affected the outcome.
Lord Denning MR commented on parliamentary elections conducted more than a century earlier by poll whereby a voter’s name, qualification and vote were recorded in a book open for public inspection, saying: ‘Such was the method of election at common law. It was open. Not by secret ballot. Being open, it was disgraced by abuses of every kind, especially at parliamentary elections. Bribery, corruption, treating, personation, were rampant.’ and ‘An election petition is a serious – and expensive – matter and is not lightly to be set aside.’
Stephenson LJ said: ‘For an election to be conducted substantially in accordance with that law there must be a real election by ballot and no such substantial departure from the procedure laid down by Parliament as to make the ordinary man condemn the election as a sham or a travesty of an election by ballot.’

Lord Denning MR, Stephenson LJ
[1975] 1 QB 151, [1974] 3 All ER 722, [1974] 3 WLR 517
Representation of the People Act 1949 37(1)
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedEdgell v Glover, Garnett (Returning Officer) QBD 4-Nov-2003
The constituency had adopted an all postal ballot, resulting in a counted majority of one. One ballot paper’s confirmation of identity had not been signed.
Held: The function of the court, exercising its jurisdiction under section 48(1), is . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Elections, Constitutional

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.187488