Electoral registers

  1. An electoral register is an official list of the people in an area who are entitled to vote in an election.

    Some people could vote in local elections even if they could not vote in parliamentary elections. For example, unmarried women after 1869. Parliamentary electoral registers only contain those eligible to vote. This has changed over time, for parliamentary elections as follows:

    • 1832 to 1867 - only men over 21 who owned a certain amount of land/property or who were tenants paying a certain amount of rent
    • 1867 to 1918 - men who were owners, tenants or who were lodgers paying at least £10 per annum
    • 1918 to 1928 - all men over 21 and women over 30
    • 1928 to 1971 - all men and women over 21
    • 1971 to date - all men and women over 18

  2. What's available

    The electoral registers we have include: 

    • 1832 to 1932 on findmyPast, free access is available at any of our libraries
    • 1832 to 1993 (as the city was at the time) on microfilm in cabinets 30-31 
    • 1993/4 to 2001/2, 2004/5 and 2005/6 (Didsbury East, Didsbury West and Gorton North wards are missing) - we hold bound volumes
    • The current full electoral register is available in the search room. No photography is permitted.
    • We also hold the electoral registers for the previous 10 years. These can be accessed through the search room and you will need to book an appointment.

    Electoral registers were not compiled in the years 1917, 1919 and 1940 to 1944. They were compiled twice in the years 1920 to 1926 and 1945 to 1949.

  3. How to access

    Registers are on the ground floor of Central Library, no appointment needed. 

    The way that registers were arranged has changed over time:

    • 1832 to 1839 - arranged by township (Ardwick, Chorlton-upon-Medlock, Hulme, Manchester) then alphabetically by surname
    • 1839 to 1878 - local election registers, arranged by ward, then alphabetically by surname
    • 1879 to 1886 - use the 1886 index to look up the polling district for a particular street. The registers are in a straight polling district number order, the polling district number appearing at the top of each page besides the ward. Check the polling district number twice - in division one (those who could vote in local and parliamentary elections) then in division three (those who could only vote in local elections). Streets are then alphabetical within each polling district
    • 1887 to 1916 - as above but use the street index on the first microfilm for each year
    • 1918 to 1949 - use the 1934 street index to look up the parliamentary division and polling district number. The parliamentary division will be on the microfilm box (for example, Ardwick), look for the polling district number on the microfilm. These numbers are made up of a letter and a number (for example, A38) or two letters and a number. Those with two letters appear after the sequence with one letter
    • 1950 to 1982 - as above but use 1950 street index for 1950 to 1960, the 1961 index for 1961 to 1965, the 1966 index for 1966 to 1971, the 1972 index for 1972 to 1979, the 1980 index for 1980 to 1981
    • 1982 to 2001 - arranged by ward, then alphabetically by street. Use the 1982 index for 1982 to 1991, the 1992 index for 1992 to 1998, the 1999 index for 1999, the 2000 index for 2000 and the 2001 index for 2001 to look up ward (a three figure abbreviation, for example DDA)

  4. Related information

    Details of men in the armed forces who were away from home during the general election in 1918 were named on Absent Voters Lists. We hold some lists for Manchester, 1918 to 1923 on microfilm. They give information such as the regiment, regimental number, rank, battalion.

  5. Next steps

    You can purchase a copy of open registers which usually contains 40 to 50 percent of those registered on the full register. The price varies depending the ward and the number of electors that opted out. Email: esu@manchester.gov.uk or call 0161 234 1212.

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