Plural voting

Plural voting

Plural voting is the practice whereby one person might be able to vote multiple times in an election. It is not to be confused with a plurality voting system which does not necessarily involve plural voting.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, for example, people affiliated with a university could vote in both a university constituency and their home constituency, and property owners could vote both in the constituency where their property lay and that in which they lived, if the two were different. Some university-educated property owners could even vote in three different constituencies. These practices were abolished by the Representation of the People Act 1948.

Belgium

In Belgium, plural voting was introduced in 1893 and applied for elections from 1894 to 1919 as a way to limit the impact of universal suffrage.

Every male citizen over 25 got one vote for legislative elections, but some electors got up to 2 supplementary votes according to some criteria: :

  • holder of a school diploma;
  • family head over 30, paying a poll tax of at least 5 francs;
  • holder of a sparing account of at least 2,000 francs, or beneficiary of a life annuity of at least 100 francs.

For municipal elections, a fourth vote was granted to family heads who paid a fixed level of electoral tax, or whose cadastral income was at least of 150 francs.

New Zealand

Plural voting, also referred to as "Dual Voting" in New Zealand abolished when universal suffrage arrived in 1889. It was previously available to certain male property owners, and between 1867 and 1889 to all Māori males of age 21 and over.

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