In the wake of historical literature concerning voting in the pre-modern era, this article examines the composition of city councils in Habsburg Lombardy in the context of the gradual establishment of individual suffrage. Beginning in the eighteenth century, the state fought the urban elites’ monopoly over local assemblies, though with uncertain results. By introducing the "dupla" system, Napoleon enabled the State to control the elections involving local ruling classes. Th electoral system introduced in 1815 sanctioned such a compromise. Using the notion of cooptation, the author gauges the accessibility of the city councils of six major Lombard cities and the incidence of government intervention in the election process. The author argues that Lombard local elites managed to keep their control over the assemblies and to slow down the shift to individual voting.
Keywords: Voting systems, co-optation, Lombardy, Risorgimento, ruling classes, municipalities