Labour History Review

Electoral Turnout in County Borough Elections, 1919–1938

Labour History Review (2006), 71, (2), 167–186.

Abstract

This article is based on new calculations of the level of turnout in county borough elections between the wars. Various factors that may have affected the level of voter abstention are considered in the light of the new evidence, and reasons for the significantly lower turnout found in municipal than parliamentary elections are evaluated. The relationship between turnout and electoral support for the Labour Party is also examined. It is suggested that the new evidence tends to contradict the commonplace view that low turnout is more detrimental to Labour's electoral performance than to other major parties. In addition, the issue of whether there was a gender difference in levels of turnout is considered, and some evidence is put forward which supports the view that women voters in general were no more likely to abstain from voting than men. Finally, it is suggested that the middle-class vote may have been influential in determining both turnout and Labour success at the polls.

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Author details

Davies, Sam

Morley, Bob