Representation of the People Acts

Representation of the People Acts,

statutes enacted by the British Parliament to continue the extension of the franchise begun by the Reform Bills (see under Reform ActsReform Acts
or Reform Bills,
in British history, name given to three major measures that liberalized representation in Parliament in the 19th cent. Representation of the counties and boroughs in the House of Commons had not, except for the effects of parliamentary
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). As a result of the government's dependence on the unified efforts of the whole people in World War I the Representation of the People Act of 1918 qualified as voters (with a few exceptions) women over 30 years of age and all men of 21 years or over who could establish short residence. The basis of representation in the House of Commons was fixed at 1 to 70,000. The Representation of the People Act of 1928 qualified all women on the same terms as men. The Representation of the People Act of 1949 reenacted and codified previous legislation relating to the conduct of elections and illegal electoral practices; it abolished the university constituencies and the additional vote given to the occupiers of business premises, thus eliminating plural voting. The Representation of the People Act of 1969 lowered the voting age to 18.
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In fact the guidance notes issued under the various Representation of the People Acts make it an offence to discover, or attempt to discover, the identity of an elector without lawful authority.

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