Poll books and electoral registers
These were introduced in 1696, when sheriffs were first required
to compile records of poll in county elections.
Usually divided by parish, they list the name of each voter and
the candidate(s) for whom he voted.
As the franchise did not become universal for men and women
until 1928, the Poll Books include only a small proportion of the
Poll Books were effectively abolished by the Secret Ballot Act
Poll Books in West Sussex Record Office
- Arundel 1662, 1727-1781
- Bramber Borough 1721, 1768
- Bramber Rape 1784, 1807, 1836, 1841, 1865
- Chichester 1781-1782, 1784, 1791, 1793, 1820, 1823, 1826, 1830,
- Midhurst 1708, 1710, 1711, 1716, 1735/6, 1737/8, 1741, 1744,
- New Shoreham 1774, 1784, 1807, 1837, 1865
- Steyning 1754
These registers have been compiled for the county every year
since the 1832 Reform Act, with the exception of the war years
1916-1917 and 1940-1944. In 1832 they included only male owners of
larger properties and tenants; the 1867 Reform Act extended the
franchise to male owners of property worth £5 per annum and tenants
paying £12 per annum, and in 1884 to all male householders and
lodgers paying £10 per annum. The Representation of the People Act
of 1918 introduced a universal male franchise and included all
women over 30; in 1928 the female qualifying age was reduced to 21.
The qualifying age for men and women was reduced to 18 in 1969.
West Sussex Record Office holds a full set of county electoral
registers from 1832 with the following exceptions: 1833, 1834,
1836, 1837, 1840 and 1841.
It should be noted that from 1885-86 to 1915, Botolphs, Bramber,
Broadwater, Clapham, Coombes, Durrington, Edburton, Fulking,
Goring, Heene, Henfield, Kingston-by-Sea, Lancing, Old and New
Shoreham, Sompting, Steyning Upper Beeding, West Tarring,
Woodmancote and Worthing were a part of the Mid or Lewes Division
of Sussex. For these, for this period, the registers are held at
East Sussex Record Office. From 1832 to 1974 the parishes of Mid
Sussex were part of various East Sussex Divisions. For these, too,
the registers are held at East Sussex Record Office.
Registers of municipal and electors for Chichester 1883-1845,
1868 and 1883-1914 (including women from 1883) are also held at the
West Sussex Record Office.