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Absent Voters Lists, dates and procedure


harkerr@btinternet.com
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Hi All

Not sure if this is the correct slot for this query, couldn't really see anywhere more suitable, Mods please move if you wish.

Does anyone know what the procedure was for a soldier to be added to the Absent Voters lists, did the individual have to apply?

Were forms issued, would they get to everyone?

Also on what dates were they taken, particularly in 1918 and 1919?

I am trying to understand why some men were on the lists and some weren't, could it just be down to personal choice, or could it indicate having left the service by that time (particularly in 1919)?

Regards

Richard

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I'll start this off and see if anyone else can correct or expand on it.

A year or two ago on eBay someone was selling lots of the original cards for servicemen to register for the AVL - they were all from Carmarthenshire, so likely a stash of them had come to light. The cards seem to have been filled in by the man in question, then posted back to the UK (they came ready-addressed to the Electoral registration officer). The ones I remember had a sort of mid-June 1918 date on them, so the AVL's information is correct to about that time. Men killed between then and the election date might or might not have been notified to the electoral people in time for them to be removed.

On the 1918 AVLs I have also noticed the presence of men who were killed in the March 1918 Retreat and later actions. This might seem odd, until you realise that they were actually "missing" at the time, and someone bothered to register them.

Missing from the AVLs seem to be some, maybe most POWs and Internees.

I wouldn't be surprised if families had some input in the process. I too have found some men absent - this might be because they weren't aged 19 on 1st April 1918, which was the minimum age for voting in this way. For others, I don't know why they weren't there - maybe they didn't qualify, or perhaps never got the card, or whatever.

Clive

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Hi

Registration Act 1918:-



9. A naval or military voter may be a man or a woman who is engaged in such service as hereinafter mentioned, and will be entitled to be registered as a parliamentary elector for any constituency for which he or she would have had the necessary qualification but for his or her service. A naval or military voter must be a British subject and must, if a man, at the commencement of his service have attained, or during his service attain, the age of 19 years, and, if a woman, must have attained the age of 30 years, and in either case must not be subject to any legal incapacity (u),

10. In order to rank as a naval or military voter a person must

(i) be serving on full pay as a member of any of the naval, military, or air forces of the Crown, or

(ii) be abroad or afloat in connection with any war in which His Majesty is engaged, and be:
in service of a naval or military character for * ET.B. In the case of the first register the qualifying period is the six months ending on the 15th April, 1918.

The AVL was as a part of the registration process:-


5. For the purpose of the registration of NAVAL OR MILITARY VOTERS.

Information as to any person who is

(a) serving in His Majesty's Forces, or

( serving abroad or afloat in connection with the war

(i) as a merchant seaman, pilot or fisherman; or

(ii) in some other capacity,

and who would have been, in the case of a man residing on or occupying, or, in the case of a woman occupying, the premises but for his or her service.

NOTE. Only men over 19 and women over 30 to be entered.

Names .

Other-

Surname, names in full.

Male or Female.

Description of service.

(a) If in the Forces, give so far as known regiment, ship, number, &c.

If not in the Forces, state nature of service.


The postcards were completed by the Registration Officer and if necessary confirmed with the mans record office, all cards then sent to the relevant record office or ship to be updated a necessary.


The cards where only sent directly to Officers for completion.


The reason that the AVL is not a complete record is due to Section 5 sub section ii para a.


Servicemen over the age of 19 years did have the vote, as did a myriad of other men if they where involved with war work.

There are other threads on this subject.

Regards Charles

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I've found a couple of images of the cards being sold. One side has instructions for completion, and directions to post them to "The Registration Officer for the County(or Borough) of..." and the town (Llanelly) was filled in in pencil.

Side two headed "Representation of the People Act 1918" asked for the details, including unit and arm of service; regimental number; surname and full forenames; age on 15th April 1918; Qualifying address; and the signature of the man in question, followed by a countersignature of an officer.

The cards were posted from abroad, correctly marked with unit censor stamps and Field Post Office postmarks.

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Hi,

These cards are to do with the Record Offices, not the Absent Voters Lists which was completed by relatives. There are far to many mistakes and duplications on the AVL for it to have come from the man, his officer or the Record Office.

Regards Charles

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Hi Joseph & LST_164

Thanks for your replies.

I am still a bit vague about this, am I correct in thinking that you are saying people were added to the AVL by friends/relatives at home where they would normally reside?

Was this on a form or card?

If all the information on the AVL came from relatives I am surprised at the level of unit detail shown on some entries (although this could be relatives thinking they know more than they did, or of course it may depend on the level of unit detail shown on the last letter received).

What was the function of the cards you refer to as being "to do with the Record Offices" and what Record Offices.

Are these the same cards referred to by LST_164 which refer to the "Representation of the People Act 1918" signed by the soldier and an officer and posted to their local authorities Registration Officer, what other function could these have other than electoral registration?

Where they to check the accuracy of the information provided by relatives for the AVL?

Would either of you have examples of the forms/cards in question?

Many Regards

Richard

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It turns out there are a couple of the 1918 cards at present for sale on the auction site - sadly, they only show the front side where they are addressed to the local Registration Officer. The Field PO number seems to be identical in both cases, and both relate to Llanelly.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GB-1918-OHMS-REPRESENTATION-OF-THE-PEOPLE-ACT-ARMY-FORM-S15320-/200762890726?pt=UK_Stamps_BritishStamps&hash=item2ebe6699e6

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GB-1918-OHMS-REPRESENTATION-OF-THE-PEOPLE-ACT-ARMY-FORM-S15319-/140755786132?pt=UK_Stamps_BritishStamps&hash=item20c5b2d994

It will be the case though that they are signed by the serviceman in question, and countersigned by an officer. At the risk of breaching someone else's copyright, and so with due apologies, I attach an image which includes the rear view (I don't have a larger version): note Field Censor and FPO marks on front of this one.

post-12434-0-42144300-1398346071_thumb.j

Not seeking to challenge what you're saying Joseph, and am interested in the information you've shared; it's just that these items seem to be a direct communication between the serviceman and the local Registration officials of their home area, whatever the purpose.

Richard - the families would usually have accurate number/unit information quite apart from the electoral exercise, since this was normally needed for them to send him letters! Servicemens' letters often are headed with the info. or include it at the end.

Clive

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Hi Clive

Taking your last sentence first (as its addressed directly to me) I agree, and as I wrote, I was coming to that same conclusion, but left it in anyway.

What I had in mind was that some are very detailed down to section or platoon which could change from time to time without families knowing, however families would quote the latest known from the last letter received.

Thanks for the examples of the cards, a pity they don't specify the actual purpose, but they are obviously to do with electoral registration and not military Records Office.

If not to confirm the information provided by the family for inclusion in the AVL, or to give the serviceman the opportunity of applying to be included in the AVL, could they have been to confirm the identity of a man to accompany his actual voting paper?

Regards

Richard

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Hi,

These cards are to do with the Record Offices, not the Absent Voters Lists which was completed by relatives. There are far to many mistakes and duplications on the AVL for it to have come from the man, his officer or the Record Office.

Regards Charles

I've never gone with the idea of the men providing their details for the 1918 AVL, I've got two in my patch who were killed in 1916, and there are close on 200 mistakes as to service numbers and addresses.

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Hi,

The AVL records were compiled with the information correct at 15 April 1918, this was supplied by the relatives or landlords of the troops away. The cards were completed in the June 1918. I have an AVL and the information in it is not from the service personnel, some men have been claimed by up to 5 or 6 households this accounts for some many hundreds ( I will count them one day?) in the 40000 records I have.

I would like to get hold of the equivalent Registration Cards for my area, the information would be fantastic. I have inquired about the whereabouts of them to no avail, possible chucked in the great paper clear-out in WW2.

Regards Charles

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