Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: UK Voter Disqualifications

In my last post, I mentioned very generally who would be included in the election records because they were qualified to vote by age and land ownership or tenancy, above a certain assessed value or rental amount. In the Gibson and Rogers booklet cited below, there is a nice list of who was disqualified and that may be a better beginning point. You simply will not find your ancestors if they fall into any of the categories listed.

The occupations that disqualified a potential voter will surprise North Americans.
                    -          Before 1887, active policemen, while serving and six months after leaving the force.

-          Before 1918, election agents and other paid election workers; postmasters; those receiving welfare, their spouses or children; collectors of government revenues.
Less surprising to North Americans are these types of non-voters. People who were and are not allowed to vote in the UK and who also might not be allowed to vote in some U.S. states includes:

              people with mental disorders

anyone serving a prison sentence (UK laws prohibit anyone convicted of election bribery from voting for five years after the crime.)
A purely British reason for disqualification was being a conscientious objector between 1918 and 1923. Another is being a peer. On the other hand, peeresses were allowed to vote by the reform bill of 1918 but the right was taken away again in 1963.

Gibson, Jeremy and Colin Rogers. Electoral Registers. Birmingham, UK: Federation of Family History Societies, 1990. www.ffhs.org.uk

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