The study focuses on a frequently debated question of the role of universal suffrage in the context of Austrian politics at the turn of the 20th century. It performs a cross-sectional analysis of the transformation of the election rules in Austria and the gradual widening of the suffrage until the introduction of universal suffrage in 1907. This overview only serves, however, as a basis for comparison of seemingly different approaches united and unified by a common goal. Similar eff orts often concealed very different if not contradictory notions of individual political parties and streams with respect to the usability of an extended suffrage in party, national or class interests. Although the value of universal suffrage seems to be irreplaceable for the growth of positive democratic principles in politics, at that time this right and the struggle for its institutionalisation became a political instrument and part of the rivalry between the political parties.