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Electoral registers and poll books

Absent voters lists

Absent voters’ lists are separate registers of military personnel entitled to vote.

The first election to be held after the Representation of the People Act (February 1918) was on 14 December of that year.

This was after the Armistice, but many military personnel were still based away from their homes on the day of the election.

The government therefore decided to compile lists of all these absent voters so they could still vote, wherever they were currently based.

The NRO holds:

  • King’s Lynn absent voters list for 1919 (C/ERO 1/282)
  • Great Yarmouth absent voters list for 1918 -19 (Y/TC 20/104-109)

The NHC holds:

  • Norwich absent voters’ lists for 1918 and spring 1919

These lists can be a useful resource for researching military ancestors as they provide:

  • Name
  • (Home) address
  • Rank
  • Service number
  • Unit (ie, regiment or ship where they were stationed at the time of the election)
  • Polling district
  • Voter’s number

The list also includes women engaged in military duties for the first time, such as army nurses.