A History of the Australian Ballot System in the United States/Chapter I

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A History of the Australian Ballot System in the United States by Eldon Cobb Evans

(Chapter I: The Manner of Voting Before the Introduction of the Australian Ballot System)

The New England States[edit]

CHAPTER I

THE MANNER OF VOTING BEFORE THE INTRODUCTION OF THE AUSTRALIAN BALLOT SYSTEM

1. THE NEW ENGLAND STATES

Following the contemporary practice in England,[1] the governor and other officers in New England were at first elected by the view, or the showing of hands. This system was soon abandoned, and according to Governor Winthrop, in 1634 and thereafter in Massachusetts, "the Governor and deputy were elected by papers wherein their names were written."[2] A special procedure was used for the election of assistants. The governor formally named one man; the people all went out and came in at one door, and every freeman dropped a paper into a hat. Those voting for the candidate turned in a paper with a figure or scroll on it, while the others handed in blanks.[3] In 1643 this method of electing assistants was abandoned in favor of the corn-and-bean ballot. In the acts of 1636 and 1653, it was enacted that it should be lawful for the freemen of every town to choose by papers deputies to the General Court.[4]

The use of the ballot, or papers, seemed to have been entirely for convienence and with no object of secrecy. This is shown by an enactment of 1647, whereby it was provided that the governor, deputy, major-general, treasurer, secretary, and commissioners were to be elected by writing the names of the persons on open papers, or papers once folded, "not twisted nor rouled up, that they may be the sooner perused."[5]

The history of the other New England colonies is very similar to that of Massachusetts. In organizing the Rhode Island government of 1647,[6] the election of officers by papers was agreed to. The Hartford Constitution of 1638 definitely provided for the election of officers by written papers.[7] The constitutions of all the New England states, adopted during, or immediately after, the Revolutionary War, provided for the election of officers by the written ballot.[8] The same system was gradually extended to the election of local officers. In a law passed on February 28, 1797, the General Assembly of Vermont enacted "that the several officers [i.e., town officers] aforesaid, shall be chosen by ballot, or such other method as the voters present shall agree upon."[9] New Hampshire in 1804 directed the town clerks to be chosen by ballot.[10]

The ballots used in the eighteenth and early part of the nineteenth century were written by hand; but with the great increase in the number of elective offices this became a very laborious task. This difficulty was met in Massachusetts by a decision of the Supreme Court. The plaintiff had, in the election of 1829, tendered a printed ticket containing his vote for fifty-five persons. This ticket was rejected, and on appeal the court held that printed votes were written votes within the meaning of the constitution, which required that "every member of the House of Representatives shall be chosen by written votes."[11] Maine[12] in 1831 and Vermont[13] in 1839 authorized by statute the use of either printed or written ballots. Five years later Connecticut accomplished the same result by an amendment to its constitution.

This legalization of printed tickets was accompanied in Maine by the requirement that ballots should be printed on clean white paper, without any distinguishing mark or figure besides the names of the persons voted for and the office for which each was intended; and colored ballots were forbidden. In Massachusetts the direct result of the case of Henshaw v. Foster was that the parties began to print tickets on varied-colored paper, which destroyed the secrecy of the vote.[14] In 1839 the system was made even worse by an act requiring ballots to be deposited in the ballot box, open and unfolded.[15] This was as public as the viva voce mode and opened the way to bribery and intimidation. After many efforts, in 1851 the liberals, consisting of Free-Soilers and Democrats, passed the envelope law. This required that votes for governor, lieutenant-governor, state senators and representatives, presidential electors, and representatives in Congress should be deposited in the ballot box in a sealed envelope. These envelopes were of uniform size, color, quality, and appearance, and were furnished by the secretary of state to the town and city clerks, and distributed on the day of elections by sword clerks, who were stationed in the same room with the ballot box. Making, stamping, or selling any imitation of the official envelope was prohibited under penalties.[16] In 1853 the conservatives came into power and, not daring to repeal the law, destroyed its value by making the use of the official envelope purely optional. The elector could deposit his ballot in a sealed envelope, or without the envelope, open and unfolded.[17] The voters who could be bribed or intimidated of course were forced to choose the latter method. In the constitutional convention of that year the compulsory use of the official envelopes was proposed, but, by a close vote, was defeated by the voters. The year following the American party carried the state and attempted to restore the law. It passed the lower house, but was defeated in the Senate.[18] In Rhode Island the use of an official envelope was made obligatory in 1851.[19] This was soon abandoned in favor of an optional use of the official envelope,[20] as in Massachusetts.

2. THE MIDDLE EASTERN STATES

During the colonial period both the viva voce method and the ballot were used in the middle eastern states.

In Pennsylvania the framers of government of 1682 and 1683 required elections to be by ballot. Yet, from the disputed elections of 1689, proof was furnished of a great lack of uniformity in the method of voting. One member stated that the ballot was used only when doubt existed as to the number of voices. Another asserted that the members from Philadelphia county only were elected by ballot. A third said that the election was decided by a black and white bean ballot.[21] By an act of the legislature in 1706, the use of the written ballot was continued and provision was made for the illiterate voter.[22] If the illiterate voter brought a ticket to the polls, the judge of election was required to open the ticket and to read aloud the names written thereon, and to ask the elector if these were the persons for whom he wished to vote. If the answer was in the affirmative, the ballot was deposited in the box provided for that purpose. In case such elector brought no ticket he could give verbally the names of the candidates of his choice.

Elections in Delaware were conducted practically the same as in Pennsylvania. In the concessions and agreements granted by the proprietors of West Jersey in 1676-77, provision was made for the use of "balloting trunks."[23] The surrender of this colony to the crown in 1701 caused the English system of viva voce voting or voting by the show of hands to be introduced. This latter method was also used at elections in the royal colony of New York. In the constitution of New York of 1777[24] authority was given the legislature to provide for the election of representatives, senators, and governor by the ballot; and if this method was found inconvenient or mischievous, the legislature by a two-thirds vote could return to the viva voce system.[25] The legislature at first provided only for the election of the governor and lieutenant-governor by the ballot; but in 1787 this was also extended to the members of the legislature.[26] Later, town officers were directed to be chosen by ballot.[27] New Jersey, by statute, in 1794 provided for the election of members of the legislative council, General Assembly, and sheriffs, and coroners of counties by the ballot.[28]

When they were presented for voting the ballots used in these states were generally required to be folded so as to conceal the writing thereon. Delaware specifically prohibited any examination of the ballot at the time it was presented for voting, except to determine whether it was single.[29] The use of the printed ballot came earlier in this group than in the New England states. Its use was authorized in Pennsylvania in 1799,[30] in Delaware in 1811,[31] in New Jersey in 1820,[32] and in New York in 1822.[33]

3. THE SOUTHERN STATES

During the colonial period both the viva voce system of voting and the ballot were known in the South. Before the Revolution, in Virginia, Maryland, and Georgia the English method was adopted,[34] while in South Carolina and in North Carolina, except for the period from 1760 to 1776, the ballot was used.

The viva voce system was introduced early in the history of Virginia, and is implied in the phrase "major part of voices" used in 1624[35] and in 1646 this method was made compulsory. In 1785 it was provided by law that if the election could not be determined by the view, the poll should be taken.[36] The sheriff obtained a sufficient number of writers, who were put under oath to take the poll impartially. The sheriff delivered a poll-book to each writer, who, by drawing lines, divided the book into as many columns as there were candidates. The name of each candidate was written at the head of a column, and under his name in the same column, the names of the electors voting for him.

In The End of An Era, J. S. Wise gives a picture of the viva voce scheme in operation:

In those days, voting was done openly, or viva voce, as it was called, and not by ballot. The election judges, who were magistrates, sat upon a bench with their clerks before them. Where practicable, it was customary for the candidates to be present in person, and to occupy a seat at the side of the judges. As the voter appeared, his name was called out in a loud voice. The judges inquired, "John Jones (or Smith), for whom do you vote ?"--for governor, or whatever was the office to be filled. He replied by proclaiming the name of his favorite. Then the clerks enrolled the vote, and the judges announced it as enrolled. The representative of the candidate for whom he voted arose, bowed, and thanked him aloud; and his partisans often applauded.[37]

This method of voting was entirely public, and, even to a greater extent than the unofficial ballot, opened the way to bribery and intimidation. Its use was abandoned by North Carolina[38] in 1776, Maryland[39] and Georgia[40] in 1799, Arkansas[41] in 1846, Missouri[42] in 1863, Virginia[43] in 1867, and Kentucky[44] in 1890. In the other southern states the viva voce method of voting was not used.[45]

4. THE NORTH CENTRAL AND WESTERN STATES

The viva voce method was at first introduced into the Northwest Territory.[46] The opportunities that it gave for intimidation soon caused its repeal. Governor St. Clair in 1800, in an address to the legislature, spoke of the fact that creditors were using their power over debtors to make them vote for certain candidates on promises of extending the time for payment. He recommended the substitution of the ballot in place of the viva voce method.[47] On December 9 of the same year the territorial legislature enacted that in all elections the manner of voting should be by ballot.[48]} Each of the north central states, except Illinois, on its admission into the Union provided in its constitution that all elections should be by ballot.[49] In the western group of states the ballot was generally adopted. Texas[50] and Oregon,[51] in fact, constitute the only instances the writer could find of the use of the viva voce system.

5. THE FORM OF THE BALLOT

By the middle of the nineteenth century the ballot was used in almost all of the United States. The term "ballot," however, meant one or several pieces of paper which contained the names of the candidates and the designation of the offices, and which were used by the electors in voting. The ballots could be either written on printed; but were, as a matter of fact, almost always printed.

In appearance and form the ballots varied in different states and in different elections. The ticket of each party was separate, and, as a general rule, could be distinguished, even when folded, from all other tickets as far as it could be seen. Frequently the party tickets were of a different color. In a municipal election in Massachusetts the Republicans used a red ticket and the opposition a black one; and in the same state state in 1878 the Republican ticket had a flaming pink border which threw out branches toward the center of the back, and had a Republican indorsement in letters half an inch high.[52] In another election in Massachusetts the Republicans used a colored ballot, while the Democratic ticket was white with an eagle so heavily printed as to show through the ballot.[53] In one election in Orangeburg County, South Carolina, the Republican ticket was of medium-weight paper, with the back resembling a playing-card, and, according to statements made, could be recognized across the street. The Democrats had a tissue-paper ticket of a pale-blue color. There were two sizes of this tissue-paper ticket, so that the smaller could be folded in the larger one, and an outsider could not tell that there was more than one ticket being voted.[54] The Democratic ticket used at the polls in Charleston, South Carolina, had a red checked back and was printed with red ink.[55] Tissue-paper ballots were used quite extensively throughout the South.

One object in making the ballots so easily distinguishable was to enable the ignorant elector to obtain the ticket he wished to vote; but it was usually easy to counterfeit the opposition ticket. A facsimile of the opposing party ticket would be printed, containing, however, all or sometimes only a few of another party's nominees. This was so skilfully done at times as to deceive even the most careful voter. Another reason for making the tickets distinguishable was to discover how the elector voted. This was the greater of the two evils, and greatly facilitated corruption and intimidation.

During the Civil War and Reconstruction period this condition became intolerable, and led to the enactment in fifteen states of laws prescribing the color of the paper and the kind of ink to be used in the printing of the ballot. Maine[56] was the pioneer state in this movement, the law in this state having been passed as early as 1831. Maine was followed, in 1867, by Connecticut,[57] Indiana,[58] and Virginia;[59] by Ohio[60] and West Virginia[61] in 1868; by Kentucky[62] and Illinois[63] in 1872; by Missouri[64] and Florida[65] in 1877; by Massachusetts[66] and Texas[67] in 1879; by New York[68] in 1880; and by Delaware[69] and Alabama[70] in 1881. The provisions of the New York law are typical. It provided that "each and all ballots used at any such election shall be upon plain white printing paper, and without any impression, device, mark, or other peculiarity whatsoever upon or about them to distinguish one ballot from another in appearance, except the names of the several candidates, and they shall be printed with plain black ink."[71]

This law also failed to accomplish its purpose, because the several parties used different shades of white. In Ohio, for example, the Republicans used a very white paper, while the Democrats adopted a cream color. So it was still possible to tell what ticket an elector voted. California[72] and Oregon[73] tried to secure a uniform weight and color of paper by requiring the ballots to be printed on paper furnished by the secretary of state.

There was great variety in the number of tickets used in the different states. Twelve states required the names of all candidates voted for at an election to be written or printed on a single ticket.[74] Massachusetts allowed the elector to vote for the several candidates on a single ballot or on separate tickets.[75] The elector in New York in 1882, or Florida in 1889, had to vote for the candidates of his choice on eight tickets, while a voter in Nebraska in 1887 was compelled to use nine.

The states which required separate ballots for different offices had as many combinations as the particular legislature thought desirable, and it is almost impossible to discover any common principle guiding their actions. Six states required officers voted for by all the electors of the commonwealth to be elected on a separate ticket. Five states required separate ballots for presidential electors. Seven states placed candidates for Congress on a distinct ticket. Other offices placed on a separate ballot were: judicial, in four states; justice of the peace, in three states; county officers, in four states; and city or town officers, in three states.[76]Constitutional amendments were sometimes printed separately.

The size of the ballot was regulated in only five states: Massachusetts,[77] Delaware,[78] Indiana,[79] Alabama,[80] and California.[81]

Since the law made no provision for the printing or distribution of the ballots, the party organizations, prior to the day of election, saw that the tickets were printed. Usually a select committee on printing took charge of the entire matter of getting up the ballot, seeing that it conformed to the law, and that the tickets were properly folded, bunched, and distributed throughout the organization. In New York City[82] the tickets for Tammany Hall and the county democracy were distributed under the supervision of a committee of the organization. The assembly district bag was delivered to the assembly district leaders, and by them to the election district leaders. In the Republican party, the tickets were delivered to the district leaders. Thus the district leaders had control of a vital part of the election machinery. They could destroy or fail to distribute the tickets, and then there would have virtually been no election.

The tickets were given to the voter in advance of the election, or they could be obtained near the polling-place on the day of election. Each party customarily had a ticket booth for each polling-place and attached to it a number of ticket peddlers.

6. THE MANNER OF VOTING

As the elector approached the polling-place, he was met by these ticket peddlers, who were only too anxious to supply him with their party tickets, and a close watch was kept to see what party ticket he selected. The tickets were usually folded, and, from the voter's habit of carrying them in the vest pocket, become known as "vest-pocket tickets." The provisions of the California law of 1850 are typical of the procedure inside the polling-place: "Whenever any person offers to vote, the inspector shall pronounce his name in an audible voice, and if there be no objection to the qualification of such person as an elector, he shall receive this ballot, and in the presence of the other judges put the same, without being opened or examined, into the ballot box."[83]

Seven states required the ballot to be numbered, and the same number recorded on the list of voters opposite the voter's name. This worked against the secrecy of the ballot[84] by making it possible to identify the ballot cast by any elector.

Even more open to abuse was the provision in three states permitting the voter to write his name on the back of the ballot. The Pennsylvania constitution of 1873 provided that "any elector may write his name upon his ticket, or cause the same to be written thereon and attested by a citizen of the district."[85] What an opportunity for fraud this presented! The signature of the elector was required by the Rhode Island[86] laws of 1822 and 1844. The signature of the elector was permissible in Indiana[87] from 1867 to 1881.

7. THE DEFECTS OF THE UNOFFICIAL BALLOT

While the ballot was superior to the viva voce system as a method of electing public officers, it was open to serious objections and capable of great abuse. In fact, elections in the United States thirty or forty years ago were not a very pleasant spectacle for those who believed in democratic government.

1. In the first place, the ballot was not secret. In many states there was no regulation of the form or appearance of the ballot whatsoever. As a result, the ballots of the opposing parties were so different that it could be accurately told how an elector voted by the color of his ticket. Even in the fifteen states that required the ballots voted to be printed on plain white paper,[88] the parties by selecting different shades of white defeated the purpose of the law. The failure of the law to secure secrecy opened the door to bribery, intimidation, and corruption.

As long as universal suffrage exists there will probably be more or less bribery of voters. It is hard, however, to imagine a system more open to corruption than the one just described. The ballots were not only distinguishable, but the briber was permitted to have full view of the voter's ticket from the time it was given to him until it was dropped in the ballot box. Money, or "soap," as it was called, with increasing frequency was used to carry elections after the Civil War. Moreover, the buying of votes was not confined by any means to the city, but was freely used in the country as well. One writer described the conditions as follows:

This sounds like exaggeration, but it is truth; and these are facts so notorious that no one acquainted with the conduct of recent elections now attempts a denial--that the raising of colossal sums for the purpose of bribery has been rewarded by promotion to the highest offices in the government; that systematic organization for the purchase of votes, individually and in blocks, at the polls has become a recognized factor in the machinery of parties; that the number of voters who demand money compensation for their ballots has grown greater with each recurring election; . . . . men of standing in the community have openly sold their votes at prices ranging from fifteen to thirty dollars; and that for securing the more disreputable elements--the "floaters," as they are termed--new two dollar bills have been scattered abroad with a prodigality that would seem incredible but for the magnitude of the object to be obtained.[89]

It was charged that the bribery of voters in Indiana in 1880 and 1888 was sufficient to determine the result of the election. In 1888 it was commonly reported that one item in the Republican expense account was one hundred thousand dollars paid to W. W. Dudley toward the expense of carrying Indiana by "blocks of five."[90] The use of money has indeed become a serious menace to American institutions, and was filling thoughtful citizens with disgust and anxiety. Many electors, aware that the corrupt element was large enough to be able to turn the election, held aloof altogether.

Intimidation was just as rife as bribery, and was largely traceable to the same cause--the non-secret ballot. In 1869 the committee appointed by the English Parliament to investigate parliamentary and municipal elections, in a draft report prepared by the chairman said:

It is difficult to arrive at the truth in the matter of the allegation of intimidation of workmen by masters, of tenants by landlords, of tradesmen by customers, and of workingmen by each other. That such intimidation is not practiced in a mode capable of legal proof is evident from the rarity of cases when a return has been set aside on this ground. But that it is practiced in some slightly disguised forms, and in a manner difficult of proof before a legal tribunal, cannot be doubted.[91]

Mr. Dowse, the attorney-general for Ireland, said:

He referred to the intimidation exercised by landlords on tenants, a form of which existed in England and Scotland, as well as in Ireland, by employers on the employed, by customers on shopkeepers. He had known instances of intimidation by a shopkeeper on a customer, by a lawyer on a client, by a doctor on a patient, and by a patient on a doctor. He had known half a congregation leave their parson and set up another place of worship on account of his vote, thus depriving him of a considerable part of his income.[92]

Mr. Terrel, of Exeter, in his testimony said "that at the Tory committee room at Exeter, it was a common question in going over the list of voters, 'Who can influence this man? and Who can lay the screw on that one?'"[93]

Probably intimidation was not as widespread in the United States as in England prior to the adoption of the Australian ballot act: but that it was extensively practiced, particularly by employers, cannot be doubted. According to a report of a committee of the Forty-sixth Congress,[94] men were frequently marched or carried to the polls in their employers' carriages. They were then supplied with ballots, and frequently compelled to hold their hands up with their ballots in them so they could easily be watched until the ballots were dropped into the box. Many labor men were afraid to vote and remained away from the polls. Others who voted against their employers' wishes frequently lost their jobs. If the employee lived in a factory town, he probably lived in a tenement owned by the company, and possibly his wife and children worked in the mill. If he voted against the wishes of the mill-owners, he and his family were thrown out of the mill, out of the tenement, and out of the means of earning a livelihood. Frequently the owner and the manager of the mill stood at the entrance of the polling-place and closely observed the employees while they voted.[95] In this condition, it cannot be said that the workingmen exercised any real choice. The need of a secret ballot to protect debtors and the laboring class was especially urgent.

A third consequence of the non-secret ballot was the opportunity it gave for fraud, particularly the stuffing of the ballot box. By this the writer does not mean to imply that it was responsible for such frauds as the false-bottom ballot box, but the failure to provide an official ballot gave a great opportunity for an elector to deposit more than one ballot. This was particularly true of the thin or tissue-paper ticket, where one or two smaller ballots could be folded inside a larger one without an outsider being able to tell that there was more than one ticket being deposited.[96] Yet the inside ballot could be so folded that it would fall out if the outer ballot was shaken a little when it was being voted, or if a friendly judge would materially assist by shaking the box, before it was opened to count the votes.

This evil was recognized, and it was commonly provided that ballots found folded or rolled together should not be counted. Since skilful manipulation could separate these double votes, it was generally required by statute that, "If after having opened or canvassed the ballots, it shall be found that the whole number of them exceeds the whole number of them entered on the poll lists, the inspector shall return all the ballots into the box, and shall thoroughly mingle the same; and one of the inspectors, to be designated by the board, shall publicly draw out of such box, without seeing the ballots contained therein, so many of such ballots as shall be equal to the excess, which shall be forthwith destroyed."[97] In drawing out the excess number, there was opportunity for corruption and narrow partisanship, and many charges were made of gross discrimination against certain parties.

2. The second great defect of the old system was that it was nobody's business to furnish correct ballots to the voter. The furnishing of ballots was left to publicly irresponsible party committees. This gave the committee or party leaders almost complete control of the situation. They could have neglected to print any tickets, have failed to distribute, or have destroyed the tickets without incurring any legal penalty, although such action would have virtually meant no election. They could remove or "unbunch" the ticket of any particular candidate, and insert in its place anyone they desired, knowing that many times the ticket would be voted as made up. This was due in part to the indifference of the elector, but not always. Receiving it from an agent of his party, he felt confident that it was all right. But this confidence was often abused. In 1882 the Republican machine sent out the tickets of the Democratic candidate for mayor.[98] In November, 1888, in many election districts in New York City the Tammany and Republican tickets were the same: Harrison electors, Hill for governor, and Grant for mayor.[99] Moreover, the opposing parties imitated each other's tickets so as to deceive the voter. A facsimile of the opposition ticket would be prepared, containing, however, all or a part of the candidates of another party. Sometimes this counterfeiting was so skilfully done as to deceive even the cautious elector.

3. The expense of printing and distributing the tickets, manning the polls, and supplying booths constituted another evil of the unofficial ballot system. Mr. Ivins estimated that in the city of New York the entire printing bills of each of the three organizations for all purposes was not less than $25,000. Allan Campbell in his campaign against Franklin Edson in 1882 spent about $25,000 for manning the polls and supplying booths, $10,000 for printing the tickets, and $8,000 for their distribution, besides other expenses of the campaign.[100] Although the expense of providing ballots and their distribution, and other legitimate demands were heavy, they constituted only a small part of the actual expense of the campaign. Making the necessary expenditures the excuse for raising money, large sums were collected, much of which was spent in political debauchery.

While these contributions came from various sources, a heavy assessment was laid on the candidates. According to Mr. Ivins, candidates for Congress were called upon to pay from fifteen to twenty dollars per election district, while the average contributions for the superior and common pleas benches was from $10,000 to $15,000.[101] This was simply bargain and sale. It practically meant that only the rich or those willing to use their positions for partisan purposes were able to obtain offices. The honest citizen of moderate wealth was excluded; and independent and non-partisan movements in politics were prevented because of the prohibitory expenses of conducting a campaign.

4. A fourth defect of the old régime was its failure to supply any adequate method of acquainting the public with the names of the men they would be called upon to vote for sufficiently in advance of the election to secure an examination into their qualifications. Nominations of corrupt or inefficient men were many times made too late for a public exposure, so the electorate went to the polls relying only on the honesty of their party, which many times betrayed them.

5. A serious drawback to elections in the old days was the noise, violence, and confusion about the polls. Four years after the passage of the famous reform act of 1832, the Westminster Review gave the following picture of elections in England:

The experience of being endowed with ears and eyes, who has lived in the scene of a contest, be it in town or country, can bear witness to the terrors of this visitation. If some return could be made of the number of families ruined at the last election on account of obnoxious votes, and of those who, to avoid ruin, were compelled to sacrifice their integrity; of the number of divisions among friends, occasioned by difference of partisanship; of the panes of glass, and heads, that were broken by the glorious mob; in short of every injustice, outrage, or crime committed within that short period--we should be able to appreciate the blessings of our present electoral system.[102]

As a general rule the elections in America were not so riotous as those just described, although our contests for elective office were very disorderly. Sham battles were frequently engaged in to keep away elderly and timid voters of the opposition.[103] Many electors had their coats torn from their backs, ballots snatched from their hands and others put in their place, with threats against using any ballot except the one substituted.[104]

By the close of the second decade following the Civil War the ballot had been adopted in every state except Kentucky. In all the states the ballots were unofficial, although some progress had been made toward an official ballot. Fifteen states provided that the ballot should be printed on plain white paper. Two states required the ballot to be printed on paper furnished by a state official. Five states regulated the size of the tickets. The system was, however, very defective. It had failed to secure an honest vote, or a true expression of the public will. The defects were: first, it was not secret; secondly, there was no means provided by law for the printing and distribution of the ballots; thirdly, there was no means provided for protecting the public against eleventh-hour nominations, which made a public exposure of the candidates impossible; fourthly, the necessarily large expense deterred independent and non-partisan candidates; fifthly, the noise, violence, and confusion about the polls were disagreeable. There was need of a system of voting which would obviate or diminish these evils.

  1. Cox, Ancient Parliamentary Elections, p. 121.
  2. Bishop, History of Elections in the American Colonies, p. 141.
  3. Ibid., p. 142.
  4. Colonial Laws of Massachusetts, ed. 1660-72, p. 145.
  5. Ibid., p. 149.
  6. Rhode Island Colonial Records, I, 148.
  7. Bishop, History of Elections in the American Colonies, p. 150.
  8. Connecticut Constitution, 1818, Art. VI, sec. 7; Massachusetts Constitution, 1780, ch. 1, sec. 3, Art. III; Maine Constitution, 1820, Art. II, sec. 1; New Hampshire Constitution, 1792, Part II, secs. 14, 22; Vermont Constitution, 1777, ch. 2, sec. 17; Rhode Island Constitution, 1842, Art. VIII, secs. 1-3. The written ballot was used in Rhode Island by the middle of the seventeenth century.
  9. Vermont Digest, 1808, ch. 41, sec. 5.
  10. New Hampshire Laws, 1815, p. 249.
  11. Henshaw v. Foster, 9 Pickering (Mass.) 312.
  12. Maine Laws, 1831, ch. 518.
  13. Vermont R.D., 1839, p. 38.
  14. Tracts on the Ballot, No. 5, article by Amasa Walker.
  15. Massachusetts Acts and Res., 1839, p. 16.
  16. Massachusetts Acts and Res., 1851, ch. 226; 1852, ch. 234.
  17. Ibid., 1853, ch. 36.
  18. Tracts on the Ballot, No. 5, pp. 15-18.
  19. Rhode Island Laws, 1851-53, p. 884.
  20. Rhode Island Public Laws, 1857, pp. 83-84.
  21. McKinley, The Suffrage Franchise in the Thirteen English Colonies, p. 277.
  22. Bishop, History of Elections in the American Colonies, p. 169.
  23. McKinley, Suffrage Franchise, p. 245.
  24. Bishop, History of Elections, p. 156.
  25. New York Constitution, 1777, secs. 6, 17.
  26. Poore, Charters and Constitutions, II, p. 1333.
  27. New York Laws, 1809, ch. 157, sec. 8.
  28. New Jersey R.S., 1821, p. 273.
  29. Delaware R.S., 1829, p. 177.
  30. Pennsylvania Laws, 1700-1810, III, 345-46.
  31. Delaware Laws, 1806-13, p. 429.
  32. New Jersey R.S., 1821, p. 744.
  33. New York Laws, 1822, ch. 250, sec. 7.
  34. Bishop, History of Elections in the American Colonies, p. 156
  35. McKinley, Suffrage Franchise.
  36. Virginia R.C., 1814, I, 28.
  37. J.S. Wise, The End of an Era, pp. 55-56.
  38. North Carolina Constitution, 1776, secs. 2, 3.
  39. Maryland Constitution, 1799, Art. VI, sec. 2.
  40. Prince Digest (Ga.), 1822, p. 130.
  41. English Digest (Ark.), 1848, ch. 61, sec. 30.
  42. Missouri G.S., 1866, ch. 2, secs. 12, 14.
  43. Virginia Constitution, 1867, Art. III.
  44. Kentucky Constitution, 1890, sec. 147.
  45. The ballot has been used in South Carolina since 1683 (McKinley, Suffrage Franchise, p. 141). The ballot was adopted by Tennessee in 1796 (Constitution, Art. III, sec. 3); by Louisana in 1812 (Constitution, 1812, Art. VI, sec. 13); by Alabama in 1812 (Digest, 1823, p. 267); and by Florida in 1828-33 (Duval, Public Acts, 1839, pp. 340, 343-44).
  46. The act of 1794 was plainly viva voce (Chase, Statutes of Ohio, ch. 102, p. 241).
  47. Smith, The St. Clair Papers, II, 505-6.
  48. Ohio Constitution, 1802, Art. IV, sec. 2; Indiana Constitution, 1816, Art. VI, sec. 2; Michigan Constitution, 1835, Art. II, sec. 2; Iowa Constitution, 1846, Art. II, sec. 6; Wisconsin Constitution, 1848, Art. III, sec. 3; Minnesota Constitution, 1858, Art. VII, sec. 6; Illinois Constitution, 1818, provided for the viva voce mode, but empowered the legislature to change it; the constitution of 1847 provided for the ballot.
  49. Chase, Statutes of Ohio, Vol. I, ch. 140, PP. 505-6.
  50. Gammel, Laws (Texas), PP. 1517-18.
  51. Oregon Constitution, 1857, Art. II, sec. 15.
  52. Nation, XXVIII, 82-83.
  53. Forty-sixth Congress, second session, Report 497, p. 23.
  54. A Corrupt Ballot Box and Prostituted Ballots, p. 56. For an illustration of the kind of tickets used, see Congressional Record, XIII, Part 5, p. 4343.
  55. Senate Report 855, Serial No. 1840, p. xxxv.
  56. Maine Laws, 1831, ch. 518, sec. 3.
  57. Public Acts of Connecticut, 1867-71, p. 135.
  58. Davis, Statutes of Indiana, p. 439.
  59. Virginia Laws, 1869-70, ch. 76, sec. 31.
  60. Swan and Sayler (Ohio), R.S., 1868, p. 343.
  61. Code of West Virginia, 1868, ch. 3, sees. 17-18.
  62. Kentucky G.S., 1873, Art. XIII, ch. 33.
  63. Hurd (Illinois), R.S., 1874, p. 458.
  64. Missouri R.S., 1877, sec. 5493.
  65. McClellan (Florida), Digest, 1881, p. 493.
  66. Massachusetts Acts and Res., 1879, ch. 286, sec. 2.
  67. Gammel, Laws (Texas), VIII, p. 1420.
  68. New York Laws, 1880, ch. 360, sec. 1.
  69. Delaware Laws, 1887, ch. 328, secs. 1, 2.
  70. Alabama Code, 1887, sec. 369.
  71. New York Laws, 1880, ch. 366, sec. 1.
  72. California Code, 1872.
  73. Hill, Code and General Laws, II, 1181.
  74. New Hampshire, Delaware, West Virginia, New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, Nevada, and Colorado. Florida and Louisiana had a single ticket part of the time.
  75. Massachusetts Acts and Res., 1839, p. 16.
  76. City elections held at a different time from general elections of course had to have separate ballots.
  77. Massachusetts, 1879, ch. 286: the ballot was to be 4 1/2 inches wide and 12 inches long.
  78. Delaware, 1881, ch. 328: the ballot was to be 6 inches long and 3 inches wide.
  79. Indiana, 1881, ch. 47: the ballot was to be 3 inches wide.
  80. Alabama Code, 1881: the ballot was to be not less than 5 nor more than 10 inches long.
  81. California Political Code, 1872: the ballot was to be 12 inches long and 4 inches wide.
  82. Ivins, Machine Politics, p. 51.
  83. Garfield and Snyder, Compiled Laws, 1852, ch. 140.
  84. Pennsylvania Constitution, 1873, Art. VIII, sec. 4; Colorado Constitution, 1876, Art. VII, sec. 8; Missouri Constitution, 1875, Art. VIII, sec. 3; Mansfield Digest (Arkansas), 1884, ch. 56; Alabama Code, 1877, p. 239; Georgia Code, 1861, p. 237; Texas Constitution, 1875, Art. VI, sec. 4.
  85. Art. VIII, sec. 4
  86. Rhode Island Public Statutes (rev.), 1822, p. 95; Rhode Island Public Laws (rev.), 1844, p. 491.
  87. Davis, Statutes (Indiana), p. 439; Indiana Laws, 1881, ch. 47.
  88. See pages 7-8.
  89. Gordon, The Protection of the Suffrage, p. 13.
  90. Forum, VII, 631.
  91. Parliamentary Papers, VIII, p. xvii.
  92. Hansard Parliamentary Debate, CCIX, 484.
  93. Westminster Review, XXV, 501-2.
  94. Forty-sixth Congress, second sessions, Senate Report 497, pp. 9-18; see also Nashville American, November 9, 1889.
  95. This policy of intimidation is well stated in an article which appeared in the Boston Herald: "There will be a good deal of 'bull-dozing' down in Massachusetts this year of a civilized type. The laborers employed by General Butler in his various enterprises--mills, quarries, etc.--will be expected to vote for him or to give up their situations. The same rule will hold good on the other side. There will be no shotguns or threats. Everything will be managed with decorum, adorned with noble sentiments. But the men who oppose Butler employ three-fourths, if not seven-eighths, of the laborers of the state. They honestly believe that Butler's election would injure their property. They know that idle hands are waiting to do their work. It is not the be expected that they will look on indifferently and see their employees vote for a destructive like Butler. Human nature is much the same in Massachusetts and Mississippi. Only methods are different. Brains, capital, and enterprise will tell in any community. It is very improper to intimidate voters, but there is a way of giving advice that is most convincing" (Forty-sixth Congress, second session, Senate Report 497, pp. 2-3).
  96. Almost all the contested elections during this time bear witness to this abuse. In the case of Mackey v. O'Connor (Forty-sixth Congress, first session, Congressional Record, XIII, No. 5, p. 4334) tables were submitted showing that in the Second Congressional District in South Carolina there were 36,248 persons who voted and 42,537 ballots were found in the boxes at the close of the election.
  97. Birdseye R.S. (New York), I, 936,
  98. Ivins, Machine Politics, p. 23.
  99. Lippincott's, XLIX, 385; Political Science Quarterly, IV, 136.
  100. Ivins, Machine Politics, p. 59.
  101. Ibid., pp. 55-56
  102. Westminster Review, XXV, 487-88.
  103. North American Review, CXV, 628-29.
  104. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, II, 738.