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What are poll books?

Local and family history A-Z > Poll books
  • Old bookPoll books were produced during the period when how an individual voted was public knowledge, before the secret ballot was introduced in 1872
  • They list the names of the men who voted in parliamentary elections, their parish of residence and the candidates for whom they voted
  • Poll books may also state the elector's exact address and, if different, the address of the property that gave him the right to vote
  • During the period of poll books, the right to vote was held by only a limited number of men and by no women at all
  • For information on who had the right to vote and on how the right was gradually extended, starting with the Great Reform Act of 1832, see the National Archives page Getting the vote
  • See also Electoral Registers

Page last updated: 16th July 2020