The Burgh Records of Dundee

1919 Absentee Voters Roll

By an Act of Parliment Passed on the 6th Feb 1918, all men age 21 or over, serving in his Majesty's forces were entitled to vote, each burgh authority were to provide a list of all in the local authority area.


The AVLs for the 1918 election were produced by civilian registration officers from details supplied by households at home. Once these lists had been compiled, the names of those in the forces were sent to the relevant authorities, so that they could make arrangements for voting cards or to be sent to the men in question in the UK (about 1 million) and ballot papers sent to men serving on the Western Front and in Italy (some 2 million papers). Men serving in "distant theatres" were allowed to vote by proxy. In this case, this was done by special proxy voting form, AFW 5014, and sent to these theatres by the War Office. In the case of the Army, these tasks were coordinated by the Adjutant General's Department and the work actually undertaken by the Unit Records Offices.

Each record office was furnished with two copies of the AVL and the officer in charge of the respective offices took steps to revise the lists and to correct the numerous errors they contained. The Directorate of Organisation noted that "owing to the hurried way these lists were prepared (by the civilian registration officers) a very large percentage of entries were incorrect and in many cases soldiers could not be identified at all." Amongst the problems were movement of units, casualties and transfer of men from one unit to another, which could of course include regimental number changes.

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