Electoral registers and voting
Electoral registers or voter’s lists (sometimes known as electoral rolls) are lists of names of people entitled to vote.
When looking for a person on an electoral register, you will find their full name, their residence, and the property on which they qualify to vote (this is not always the same as residence). There is no name index to electoral registers, so it is vital to know the street/polling district of the person you are looking for.
Electoral Registers dated pre-1974
The Act of 1832 extended the county franchise to include men aged 21 or over possessing copyhold property to the value of £10 per annum, leaseholders of £50, and long leaseholders of £10, in addition to freeholders of 40s. 0d. Further extensions to the franchise were made by the Reform Acts of 1867 and 1884. In 1918, women over 30 were granted the right to vote if they met minimum specified property qualifications. It was not until the Equal Franchise Act of 1928, that women and men over the age of 21 could vote equally.
Electoral Registers dated post 1974
Since 1974, electoral registers have been compiled by local authorities. The registers are divided into units called ‘Polling Districts’ which are combined to form parliamentary constituencies. Registers are arranged by polling district (these vary over time) which makes them difficult to search by name if the area of residence for a person is unknown.
There is no full series of Electoral Registers for Flintshire before 1912 – these records have not survived. A few early surviving registers can be found in miscellaneous collections, using our online catalogue. Registers were not published during the latter years of the First World War (1916–1917) or the Second World War (1940–1944).
Absent voters lists
Absent voters lists give the names of servicemen who were absent (i.e. in the armed forces) from voting; their home address; description of service; ship/regiment, number, rank, and rating.
Parish electoral roll
Parish records often contain parish electoral rolls. Parish electoral rolls are lists of members of a specific church. This qualifies parishioners to vote and hold office within the Church in Wales.
Denbigh Borough election papers can be found in Denbigh Borough records (BD/A/203-305)
Electoral registers for Colwyn Bay Urban District Council for 1928 to 1934 can be found in the Colwyn Bay Urban District Council records (UDD/A/1/229-233)
Electoral registers for Colwyn Bay Borough for 1935 and 1937 can be found in Colwyn Bay Borough records (BD/D/133-134).
What electoral records can I find at Hawarden branch?
The Hawarden branch holds;
- electoral registers for the old county of Flintshire dated 1912 to 1974 [earlier registers have not survived]
- registers for the Clwyd districts of Alyn & Deeside, Delyn and Rhuddlan between 1974 and 1996
- registers for the “new” Flintshire, 1996 onwards
For a full list see the Electoral registers at Hawarden webpage.
What electoral records can I find at Ruthin branch?
The Ruthin branch holds;
- electoral registers for old county of Denbighshire dated from 1832 to 1974
- registers for Clwyd districts of Colwyn, Wrexham and Glyndwr between 1974 and 1996
- registers for “new” Denbighshire 1996 onwards
For a full list see the Electoral registers at Ruthin webpage.
What language were the records written in?
These records are in English. It is our policy to catalogue records in the language in which they were originally written.
How can I access these records?
No digital images of these records are available online. However, the British Library do provide access to some English and Welsh registers through a full ancestry subscription.
You can view electoral registers in our search-rooms. Book a place in the search-room today.
Access to electoral registers is subject to restriction for 10 years after publication, to comply with legislation on Representation of the People and Data Protection. Access is only permitted in the search-room under staff supervision. During supervised access only handwritten notes are permitted. No copies of registers dated within the last 10 years can be provided.
What records can I find in other archives and organisations?
The British Library
The British Library hold a full set of electoral registers for England and Wales from 1947 onwards.