Before the late 19th century there was no official record of what took place in Parliament, although national, regional and local newspapers covered Parliament's proceedings in detail.
Charles Dickens was a parliamentary reporter in his youth before he embarked on his novels.
This coverage meant people could keep themselves informed about parliamentary events although they may have been unable to vote.
For those who were entitled to the vote, parliamentary elections could be turbulent and lively, sometimes even violent.
In 1754, the artist William Hogarth, worked on a quartet of paintings depicting an election in a country town. Men are shown being dragged to the polling booth and bribes are made. The winning candidate's parade is violently interrupted.