Equal Franchise 1928

Letter about polling districts and the new Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act, 2 July, 1928 (Catalogue ref: HO 45/13439)





6th July, 1928





Dear Sir,

I am directed by the Secretary of State to say that the Representation of the People (Equal franchise) Act, 1928, which assimilates the parliamentary and local government franchises of men and women received the Royal Assent on the 2nd instant.

  1. The register* now in preparation is not affected by the new Act but will remain in force only until the 1st May, 1929. Effect will be given to the new franchises in the register of 1929 which will be prepared for the qualifying period of three months ending on the 1st December, 1928, and will come into force on the 1st May, 1929. The other registration dates for that register will be fixed in due course by Order in Council.
  2. As result of the new Act, a woman will be in future be qualified to be registered like a man at the age of twenty-one years in respect of her residence, or her own occupation of business premises. The wife or husband of a person entitled to be registered in respect of the occupation of business premises will also be entitled to be registered in respect of those premises.
  3. The effect of the new Act will be to increase largely the parliamentary electorate of nearly all county and borough constituencies. A Return, Cmd. 3119, indicating the estimated increase in each constituency is enclosed.
  4. As you are aware, under section 31 of the Act of 1918, the Council, whose Clerk you are, or by whom you are appointed, has the duty, as occasion requires, of dividing each constituency in the registration area into polling districts and of appointing polling places thereafter, and the Secretary of State desires that you will bring the Circular before the Council in order that they may consider whether any, and if so, to what extent revision of the present polling arrangements is required in consequence of the new Act.
  5. In general, the Secretary of State thinks that it should not be necessary to increase the number of polling districts and polling places on account on the enlargement of the electorate, and considering the matter the Council will [bear] in mind that any such increase would entail additional expense for printing the register and conducting an election.
  6. It is of course essential that any change in the polling districts should be made in good time before the register of 1929 falls to be prepared, so that the register may be made up for the new areas, and the Secretary of State trusts that the Council will proceed to give the matter their immediate consideration. Copies of any Order which the Council may make on the subject should be forwarded, when made, to this Department.

I am Sir,

Your obedient Servant

Malcolm Delivingne

The Registration Officer.

Register: Register of electors, the electoral roll, those listed who have the right to vote

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