Why is the secret ballot?
Does voting need to be secret?
When I’ve asked someone who they voted for, he answered “I’m not telling you” when I asked why he said “because it’s a secret ballot”
I made a error, I was meant to ask “What is the secret ballot?”
Sometimes, I just ask because I was curious. I am not personally someone who would judge who voted for what and didn’t care whenever or not he was pro EU or not.
- Tmess2Lv 71 year agoFavourite answer
It doesn't need to be secret. For most of history, it wasn't.
However, a public vote means that others know how you voted. If you voted differently from your neighbors, you could be subject to some subtle (and some not so subtle) retaliation. In addition, a public vote makes it easier to successfully purchase votes.
A secret ballot is exactly what it sounds like. You get a blank ballot to fill out. You go to a semi-private location to fill it out. You then deposit it in a ballot box. There is no record of which ballot you took; so, when the votes are counted, there is no record of how you -- as an individual -- voted. (For absentee ballots, in most U.S. states, ballots are returned in a two-envelope system: the external envelope includes the information necessary to validate that the voter is eligible to vote absentee; the internal envelope -- which contains the actual ballot -- has no information that identifies the person who voted that ballot. So when the ballots are removed from that envelope and mixed together before being tallied, the ballot remains anonymous.
- CliveLv 71 year ago
Once upon a time, voting was not secret and you had to declare openly who you wanted to vote for. This could lead to intimidation, including being sacked from your job if your employer didn't like the way you voted, or being evicted if you rented your home and the landlord didn't like how you voted. YOU might not judge someone, but this kind of thing used to happen. I can think of other things, like families with members who vote differently could have arguments - with a secret ballot, whoever you disagree with doesn't need to know what you did. It's YOUR choice to tell people how you voted. Or not tell them. No problem in my family as we pretty much all agree anyway, but I've heard of that happening.
In the UK, this was changed by the Ballot Act 1872. It had become more of a problem when many more people were allowed to vote in 1867 and the feeling grew that intimidation by the rich who had control over people's lives had to be stopped. The Act lays down detailed rules so that voters no longer had to say who they were voting for so the clerk could write it down, but instead received a ballot paper to mark their vote on and a sealed ballot box was provided for the papers. This makes your vote secret.
So there's a bit of history! All the things we know so well - getting a ballot paper, going into a little booth with a pencil in it so you can mark your vote in secret and fold up the paper, and the box to put it in - all started in 1872.
British elections also could be riotous, There would be arguments and fights between supporters of different parties, so another argument for having the secret ballot was that disorder should reduce. And the first election conducted this way in 1872 proved this was true - it was much more orderly
Voting doesn't have to be secret - it wasn't for centuries and voting at meetings is still usually done by a show of hands. But for national and local elections, where politics are involved, it's a good idea for several reasons.
- martyLv 71 year ago
Its nobody's business who anyone voted for, keep it between yourself and your conscience
- rogerLv 71 year ago
Yep a secret ballot is a good thing. That prevents you from selling your vote or getting harassed about the way you voted.
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- GypsyfishLv 71 year ago
That should be obvious. It's secret so that no one can harass or intimidate people into voting a particular way.