> Hugh Armstrong's Genealogy Site Index

1901: The Electoral Franchise

In addition to those of age, citizenship and sex (male of full age of 21 and a British subject common to all voters in all the provinces, the further qualifications of electors for Representatives in the House of Commons are regulated by Chap. 14, Act of 1898, which provides that the provincial franchises and provincial machinery shall be adopted, and that special disqualifications caused by the holding of federal offices shall be set aside.

In Ontario the qualification is practically residential manhood suffrage, the term of residence being, within the province 9 months and within the municipality from the time fixed for beginning to make up the assessment rolls to the date of voting.

In Manitoba practically residential manhood suffrage, the term being 12 months within the province and 3 months within the electoral division.

In British Columbia practically residential manhood suffrage, the term being six months in the province and 1 month in the electoral district.

In North-west Territories practically residential manhood suffrage, the term being 12 months within the territories and 3 months in the electoral district.

In Province of Quebec, qualifications for voter are ownership or occupancy of real property, position as teachers or clergymen after 5 months' domicile in electoral district; income or personal property of specified amount - real or real and personal, valued at $300, $200 and $100 fishermen). Income, renters, $100; others $300. Absentees in the United States may vote if they have returned with their families and have resided in electoral district one month before election day.

In Nova Scotia qualifications are ownership or occupancy of real property, valued at $150; real and personal property or personal alone, $300; widows' sons, $150; fishermen, $150 income, $250, and residence of 12 months in electoral district.

In New Brunswick qualifications are ownership of real property valued at $100, or personal and personal and real, $400; position as clergymen, teachers or professors in colleges; income of $400; residence in electoral district, the term of residence requisite being 12 months in electoral district next preceding the first day of May of the year in which the list is made up.

Prince Edward Island. Full age, male, British subject by birth or naturalization. In the electoral district of Charlottetown Common and Royalty the owner of freehold estate, or actual possessor of one water lot, common lot, town lot or pasture lot, within the electoral district of the clear annual value of $6, and in other electoral districts is owner or occupier of dwelling house, warehouse, shop or other building, or farm or piece of land within the electoral district of the clear annual value of $6; having owned or occupied it for 6 months before the teste of the writ for holding the election; (2) or has performed statute labour on the public roads or commuted the same; having resided a twelvemonth in the electoral district; (3) or in the city of Charlottetown and the town of Summerside, has paid poll and civic tax for the year immediately preceding the election and has resided for a twelvemonth in the electoral district; (4) or is in actual occupancy of farm valued at $100.

The disqualifications (other than those of Federal officers) are:

Ontario. Judges of Supreme Court of Canada and of Ontario, of Exchequer Court and County Courts; Clerks of the Peace, County Crown Attorneys, Registrars, Sheriffs and their Deputies, Deputy Clerks of the Crown, agents for the sale of Crown lands; Stipendiary Magistrates, Police Magistrates of cities of 30,000 inhabitants; imprisoned criminals, lunatics and paupers; Returning officers, election clerks, persons engaged as counsel, agents and solicitors or persons interested in the elections owing to pecuniary considerations promised or paid; unenfranchised Indians.

The Federal officers disqualified from voting in provincial elections in Ontario are:

Postmasters in towns and cities. Officers of the customs and excise.

Quebec. Same as in province of Ontario and in addition collectors of provincial revenue and officers and men of the provincial police force; contractors till after 6 months from the close of their contracts with the Dominion or Provincial Governments; absentees (other than owners) if in the United States for a year and a day unless they have returned with their families for a month before election day, with intention to reside in province.

No Federal officers of the several departments are disqualified in the Province of Quebec.

New Brunswick. Judges of the Supreme Court of the province, the sheriffs (each in the county of which he is sheriff); criminals in jail; lunatics and paupers and Indians.

No Federal officers as such are disqualified.

Nova Scotia. Judges of the Supreme Court, employees of the Crown land office and of local public works and mine office; paupers and all employees in receipt of wages, etc., within 15 days before election in the Customs, Inland Revenue, Government railway or post office but not to extend to postmasters, post office keeper, way post keeper or mail courier.

Manitoba. Judges of the Court of King's Bench and County Courts; Indians or persons of Indian blood receiving annuities; lunatics, idiots and prisoners, officials of the Dominion or the province, registrars, sheriffs, County Court clerks, bailiff's in receipt of $350 annually as such officers; regular soldiers and persons enrolled in military schools and all persons not British subjects by birth who have not resided 7 years in the Dominion, unless they are able to read the Manitoba Act in either French, English, German, Icelandic or any Scandinavian language.

Voting in elections is by ballot. The North-west Territories, previously to 1894, bad open voting; chap. 15 of Acts of 1894 changed that mode to the one adopted in all the other provinces.

No property qualification is demanded from a member of the Commons, nor is he limited to a residence in the district for which he is elected.

General elections are simultaneous throughout the Dominion of Canada. The number of voters on the voters' lists at the latest dates obtainable, 1887 and 1891 being added for purpose of comparison, is as follows:

YearVoters on
NumberPer cent

According to provinces, the number of voters on the lists in the years named was:

Number of Voters on the Electoral Lists (by Provinces)
YearOntario QuebecNova
1895650,021351,076111,12491,69725,24565,68420,878 38,010

*No Voters' lists in 1882; figures Approximate.
†As provided by the several provinces for the Liquor Prohibition Plebiscite, held on September 29, 1898.
‡General elections for House of Commons.
**No lists of voters; figures are those of actual votes. > Hugh Armstrong's Genealogy Site Index