australian ballot love

australian ballot


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  • The New Yorker reports on the Aussies' gift to democracy.

    "The reform that ended this unsettling state of affairs Election Day riots was imported from Australia, and was not achieved in the United States until the 1890s. The American adoption of the 'Australian ballot'—and the radical idea that governments should provide ballots—was hard fought."

    "Victoria's Electoral Act of 1856 minutely detailed the conduct of elections, requiring that election officials print ballots and erect a booth or hire rooms, to be divided into compartments where voters could mark those ballots secretly, and barring anyone else from entering the polling place.… In 1877 Western Australia introduced the placement of an empty square next to a candidate's name, requiring voters to indicate their selections by marking an X in the box. Then there was a clever scam called the Tasmanian Dodge… The British Parliament adopted the Australian ballot in 1872. … In 1888 Massachusetts passed the nation's first statewide Australian-ballot law."

    October 23, 2008