1 The process of choosing by vote a member of a representative body, such as the House of Commons or a local authority. For the House of Commons, a general election involving all UK constituencies is held when the sovereign dissolves Parliament and summons a new one; a by-election is held if a particular constituency becomes vacant (e.g. on the death of the sitting member) during the life of a Parliament. Local government elections (apart from those to fill casual vacancies) are held at statutory intervals (see local authority). The conduct of elections is regulated by the Representation of the People Acts 1983 and 1985. The Representation of the People Act 2000 made some changes to electoral registration and absent voting and allowed for experiments involving innovative electoral procedures. Other changes make it easier for the disabled to vote and created an offence of supplying false particulars on a nomination form. Voting is secret and normally in person, but any elector can obtain a postal vote without having to specify a reason. The only requirement is that the applicant is included in the Register of Electors. Applications for a particular election must be received by the Electoral Registration Officer six working days before an election. Different rules apply in Northern Ireland. Any dispute as to the validity of the election of a Member of Parliament or a local government councillor is raised on an election petition, which is decided by an election court consisting of two High Court judges. See also franchise; free elections.
2 A doctrine of equity, commonly applied to wills, based on the principle that a person must accept both benefits and burdens under one document, or reject both. It arises when there are two gifts in one document, one of A's (the creator's) property to B and one of B's property to C. B must choose whether to accept the gift of A's property to him and transfer his own property to C, or to reject both gifts.
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