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McDowell2

Governor-General Herbert Clemens.

The Reform Bill of 1870 was an act passed by the Grand Council of the Confederation of North America and signed into law by Governor-General Herbert Clemens in 1870. The Reform Bill amended the Second Britannic Design by redistricting Grand Council seats to reflect changes in the relative populations of the confederations.

The Reform Bill was one of two major reforms of the electoral system sponsored by Clemens, the other being the Reform Bill of 1869 expanding the franchise in Grand Council elections. Although the redistricting reduced the Grand Council delegations of the heavily Conservative confederations of Manitoba, Quebec and the Southern Confederation in favor of the heavily Liberal Northern Confederation, the districts were redrawn to maximize the number of seats with Conservative majorities.

The 1873 Grand Council elections were the first to be held following the redistricting. Ironically, the Conservatives actually lost 8 seats due to the appearance of the People's Coalition. Furthermore, every subsequent Grand Council election saw the Conservatives continue to lose seats to the Coalition, until by the 1903 Grand Council elections the Coalition had completely superceded the Conservative Party.

Sobel's source for the Reform Bill of 1870 is Theodore Kirk's "An Analysis of the Redistricting Bill of 1870, and its Implications in Indiana, the Northern Confederation, and the Southern Confederation, with a Note on Vandalia" in the January 12, 1970 issue of The Journal of Politics.

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