Front Page Titles (by Subject) The QUALIFICATIONS of VOTERS. - A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts
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The QUALIFICATIONS of VOTERS. - Josiah Tucker, A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts 
A Treatise Concerning Civil Government in Three Parts (London: T. Cadell, 1781).
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The QUALIFICATIONS of VOTERS.
Let me therefore previously remark, that the Qualification for voting both as Freemen, and as Freeholders, ought to be raised a little. The public Good, as well as private Happiness, calls aloud for a Reformation in this Point; and none can reasonably object to such a Measure, but those who maintain the absurd, and often confuted Notion of the unalienable Rights of each Individual to be his own Legislator, and his own Director. But, I would beg Leave to observe, that this Qualification ought to be placed in such a Mediocrity of Condition, between the two Extremes of great Riches, and of wretched Poverty, that no sober, diligent, and frugal Man could well fail of raising himself by his Industry, in a Course of Years to the honourable Distinction of a Voter;—and that almost every idle, vicious, and abandoned Spendthrist would be in Danger of sinking beneath, and of being degraded from the Privilege of voting. How different from this is the Case at present!
1st.Then, the Qualification for voting as a Freeholder for the County should still be no more nominally than that of Forty Shillings a Year above all Reprisals. But in order that this Qualification might not be subject to any Fraud or Collusion, it would be necessary to insist that the Voter, or intended Voter should be assessed to the Taxes both of King and Poor, for no less a Valuation of the Premises, than the whole Sum of forty Shillings;—and that he himself ought to be in full Possession of them, and to have paid the Tax or Taxes arising from such Assessments, [Reference being had to the Books of the Collectors] a full Year before he could be entitled to give his Vote. This single Regulation would cut off three-fourths of the bad Votes usually obtruded on Sheriffs at contested Elections;—nay, it would put an End to the whole Trade of splitting Freeholds on such Occasions.
2dly.Though all Persons ought to be free as to the Exercise of any handycraft Trade, or Calling, both in Town and Country [and all Laws, and Bye-Laws to the contrary ought to be repealed] yet none but Residents in Cities and Borough Towns ought to be allowed to vote at Elections as Freemen. And the legal Qualification of a Resident, to entitle him to be considered as a voting Freeman, ought to be the having paid Scot and Lot in such Town or City in his own Person, and for his own Property, [Reference being had to the Collectors Book] for one clear Year, preceding the Time on which he tenders his Vote. Nevertheless all Men, free or not free, resident, or Absentees, who have Freeholds within the Precincts, Liberties, or Boundaries of such Cities, or Borough Towns, ought likewise to be entitled to the Privilege of voting for Representatives in Parliament;—provided that their Freeholds come within the Description of the full Sum of forty Shillings above-mentioned:—It being very evident that the Interest of such Freeholder, generally speaking, is more permanent, and local, than that of a mere Freeman paying Scot and Lot. Now here again, the whole System of electioneering Bribes, and of Borough-Brokage, would in a Manner be annihilated by this single Regulation;—and the remaining Evils be so very few in Comparison, as hardly to deserve our Notice.—So much as to the Qualification of Voters.