Who Votes?

As in Britain, in New Zealand the right to vote or 'franchise' was defined according to sexhistoryposterworkingmen_1.jpg, age, nationality and the possession of property. It was not (in theory at least) defined by race.

'Aliens' (that is, people who were not British subjects, such as Chinese) were specifically excluded. So too was anyone who had been convicted of treason, felony or other serious offence, unless he had received a free pardon or completed his sentence.

Maori men were theoretically allowed to register and vote, but in reality most of them were excluded because they possessed their lands communally rather than under individual title like Europeans.

Men who owned or leased property in several different electorates were able to enrol and vote in each of them, a practice known as plural voting. This was made easier by the fact that until 1881 elections in different seats were usually held on different days.


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Last updated: 21 February 2013