Voting in America, it's fair to say, used to be different. Very different!
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 they voted publicly. Americans used to vote with their voices - or with their hands or feet. Yea or nay. Raise your hand. All in favor of Jones, stand on this side of the town common; if you support Smith, line up over there. In the colonies, as in the mother country, casting a vote rarely required paper and pen. Our forebears considered casting a "secret ballot" cowardly, underhanded, and despicable; as one South Carolinian put it, voting secretly would "destroy that noble generous openess that is characteristick of an Englishman."
How things have changed.
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