In 1945, the franchise of Universal Adult Suffrage was extended to our country, Trinidad and Tobago. This allowed every man and woman, 21 years old and over, to vote without restrictions. Between 1925 and 1946, only men over the age of 21 and women over the age of 30 could vote, however, with property and income restrictions. The first Legislative Council election under Universal Adult Suffrage was held on July 1st 1946 and the first County Council election held under Universal Adult Suffrage was on October 28th, 1946.
Some interesting facts about these 1946 elections are:
- There was no electoral ink at that time (this was introduced for the 1956 general election)
- Tobago was considered one county – APT James won a seat on the Legislative Council for the Butler Party
- An educational film titled “To Vote is Great Duty” was produced to give information on voting
- Even though the film was not shown in Tobago, Tobago recorded the highest voter turnout for all the counties
- India-born Ranjit Kumar won most of his votes in the Victoria district by speaking in Hindi during campaign rallies.
Election documents of 1946 can be accessed at the following links:
- Hansard, November 15, 1946
- List of Candidates for the Legislative Council General Elections, July 1, 1946
This year marks 70 years of Universal Adult Suffrage in Trinidad and Tobago. In commemoration of these 70 years of voting freedom, the Office of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago has mounted an exhibition entitled “The Vote @ 70” in the Parliament’s waterfront lobby. This exhibition is open to the public until Friday November 4, 2016 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. You can view photos of the Exhibition launch here
The Parliament Channel also produced on a series of programmes under the theme “The Vote @ 70” to mark this milestone anniversary, including 70 short factoids on the voting process 70 years ago and 15 brief programmes focusing on people and issues relevant at the time, as well as a documentary on “The Vote @ 70” which premiered on the Parliament Channel on Friday October 28th. All videos can be accessed on our YouTube channel, Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago: The Vote at 70 Playlist
Commemorate the Vote at 70 with us by visiting the exhibition and/or posting on Social Media using the hashtag #thevoteat70.