By Emily Beliveau, Digital Projects Assistant

scan of front cover

Township of Usborne Voters’ List, 1986. Object ID: 2004.0056.231 (detail).

Today is Election Day for eligible Ontario voters, a chance to make history by participating in the democratic process. To mark the day, here are some election-related items from the museum’s collection: a 118-year-old voters’ list from the former township of Usborne, and a small collection of metal ballot boxes used at various times within the county.

The voter’s list is one of many historical municipal voters’ lists held at the Archives at the Huron County Museum. It is printed single-sided and the back of most of the pages were later used for scrap paper. Sometime around 1905, for instance, the back cover was used to tally additions to the collector’s (tax) rolls.


handwritten numbers tallied in pencil

Detail from back cover of the 1896 Township of Usbourne Voters’ List.


Today, all Canadian citizens over the age of 18 who reside in Ontario are eligible to vote in Ontario provincial elections. Historically, that was not the case. To compare, in 1914, women were specifically excluded from voting in provincial and federal elections, though most women who owned property in Canada were able to vote municipally by about 1900. Voting rights in Canada went through many changes at the federal, provincial, and municipal level in the first decades after Confederation. For more information, check out this timeline of Human Rights in Canada, or A History of the Vote in Canada, by Elections Canada.