Suffrage In the early Church, one of the ways of designating persons to the ministry was by the ordinary course of suffrage and election of the Church. It was also customary for the clergy or presbytery (or the retiring bishop or presbyter) to nominate a person to fill the vacant office, which nomination was followed by the suffrages of the people-suffrages not merely testimonial, but judicial and elective. See Riddle, Christ Antiq. p. 82.
The term was also used to designate—
1. The public worship the united voice and consent of the people in the petitions offered. "See now, then, both learned and unlearned, how prayers and all other suffrages are in common to this spiritual Church" (Lantern of Light, A.D. 1400).
2. A short form of petition, as in the Litany. Thus, in the Order for the Consecration of Bishops we read that in the Litany as then used, after the words that it may please thee to "illuminate all bishops," etc., "the proper suffrage shall be," etc.
3. The versicles after the Creed in Morning and Evening Prayer.