Notice of Objection Rates 1843-1918

1846: 1d postage + 2d Notice rate (not normal 1s registration). Objection likely successful as addressee had "Gone Away". Two Northampton "traveller" marks of different dates

The Parliamentary Voters Registration Act 1843 (6 & 7 Vict c.18) laid out detailed rules for the preparation and maintenance of lists of registered voters. Clause 100 allowed for objections to a name on the list (on the grounds that they did not meet the qualifications to vote) to be sent by post. Such a "Notice of Objection" was to be brought to any Money Order post office in duplicate, one copy to be sent registered to the person objected to, the other to be datestamped and returned to the sender as proof of posting. The Act specified that the Notices were to be registered, at a concessionary registration fee of not more than 2d (in addition to postage).

Notices of Objection were of vital importance to election management for the next few decades. Even after the moderate extension of the franchise under the Great Reform Act of 1832, voting rolls were limited – a typical constituency might have at most a few thousand voters. Moreover, there was no secret ballot at the time, so party election agents used the objection procedure to try to remove as many known opponents as possible (and conversely to defend supporters against objections raised to their right to vote).

The value of this decreased over time due to further extensions of the franchise in 1867 and 1884 and the introduction of secret ballots in 1872. However, the Post Office Circular regularly printed reminders to postal staff when the deadline for submissions was imminent.

The Notice registration fee remained at 2d as the regular registration fee was reduced from 1s to 6d, then to 4d, and eventually to 2d in 1878. In 1897 the Notice fee itself was reduced to 1d, although few notices of objection seem to have been sent by this time.

Finally, the Representation of the People Act 1918 provided for universal male adult suffrage and votes for (some) women. It repealed most of the 1843 Act, including clause 100, and included a clause stating simply that claims or notices of objection were considered "sufficiently sent if sent by post".

The charges below were added to postage at the normal letter rate (or as ½d printed papers if the Notice met the qualifications for that rate).

Date Rate Date Rate Date Rate
(1 Jun)
2d 1897
(9 Aug)
1d 1918
(6 Feb)
special treatment abolished