Secret Ballot? It' a New Idea

The Good Ol' Daze:  The canvassing of voter roles by Democrats for the purpose of doing "late mailings" to determine who votes, where they live, and who they voted for is as old as this Republic.  In fact, it wasn't til WWII that a "secret ballot" became the law in almost all states.  Until then the "if you're a real man you don't need to hide your opinions" was the prevailing attitude and there were almost no laws anywhere that guaranteed a "secret" voting "right."  It's true, look it up.......  In fact most voting was done in the open air in full view of landlords, business owners, union leaders, and any and all criminal groups who only intended to fix the elections.  The current state of affairs was imported from Australia and until the early part of this century the Australian Ballot (actual name of the secret ballot) took hold world wide.  The American adoption of the “Australian ballot”—and the radical idea that governments should provide ballots—was hard fought. It lies, if long forgotten, behind every argument about how we ought to vote now, from the 2002 Help America Vote Act’s promotion of paperless voting to the more recent backlash, favoring a paper trail. And it is also, like every other American election reform, a patch upon a patch.

The United States was founded as an experiment in eighteenth-century republicanism, in which it was understood that only men with property would vote, and publicly, since they were the only people who could be trusted to vote with the commonweal, and not private gain, in mind.  Voting was conducted out in the open,  Our forebears considered casting a “secret ballot” cowardly, underhanded, and despicable; as one South Carolinian put it, voting secretly would “destroy that noble generous openness that is characteristick of an Englishman.”

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