Ab­sent vot­ers’ lists

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - FOCUS ON -

The United King­dom Gen­eral Elec­tion of 1918 was held on 14 De­cem­ber 1918, just a month af­ter the Armistice with Ger­many that ended the First World War.

Many men were still far away from their homes and would have been un­able to vote.

The 1916 Rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the Peo­ple Act made pro­vi­sion for mem­bers of the armed forces to be listed in sep­a­rate reg­is­ters un­der the con­stituen­cies in which they nor­mally lived. The Ab­sent Vot­ers’ Lists en­abled ser­vice­men and women to vote by proxy or by postal ap­pli­ca­tion when away from home on ac­tive ser­vice. The Act also ap­plied to mem­bers of the Bri­tish Red Cross, St John Am­bu­lance Brigade and any­one whose work was of­fi­cially recog­nised as be­ing of na­tional im­por­tance in con­nec­tion with the war. The lists record the home ad­dress of the ab­sent voter, but more im­por­tantly they give ser­vice num­bers and reg­i­men­tal de­tails.

Most Ab­sent Vot­ers’ Lists cover the few years af­ter 1918. How­ever, the Lon­don Metropoli­tan Ar­chives holds some reg­is­ters through to 1939. In ad­di­tion to th­ese sep­a­rate reg­is­ters, from 1918 to 1949 for the area un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Lon­don County Coun­cil, ab­sent vot­ers are marked in the nor­mal civil­ian reg­is­ter of elec­tors with an ‘a’; and from 1949 to 1979 they are in­di­cated by an ‘s’ for ser­vice voter.

WW1 sol­diers may have voted by proxy or post

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