Re: Joint paper for WPES 2004

From: Joseph Lorenzo Hall <joehall_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Fri Jun 11 2004 - 14:34:56 CDT

On Sun, 6 Jun 2004 11:27:35 -0500, Douglas W. Jones <> wrote:
> >> 2. Secret Ballot Requirements [<1 page?]
> >> FEC rules/Timing of ballots kept/Contents of ballots kept/not linked
> Secret ballots are a matter of state law, so citing
> sample state laws makes sense. (One state in the US
> still allows voters to make non-secret votes, if
> they wish! I think it's an Appalacian state, but
> I forget which.)

So, I've looked high and low for the one state that doesn't provide
for a secret ballot... Albright[1] (1942, page 29) lists the only
states to not operate under the "American variation of the Australian
ballot" (secret, blanket ballot, etc.) as being South Carolina,
Georgia and Delaware. Both Georgia and South Carolina have explicity
amended their constitutions to provide for secret ballots.

Delaware is the interesting case... there the relevant [part of the
constitution][2] (Article V, 1) reads, "the General Assembly may by
law prescribe the means, methods and instruments of voting so as best
to secure secrecy and the independence of the voter, preserve the
freedom and purity of elections and prevent fraud, corruption and
intimidation thereat." This has been interpreted to mean that this is
implying a secret ballot (note that this is only for general
elections, not state and municipal elections).

So, unless Hawaii or Alaska are the weirdos (or if a state has
repealed their laws or part of their constitution to remove secret
balloting since 1942), all states do require secret ballots.

[1] Albright, Spencer. _The American Ballot_ American Council on
Public Affairs; Washington, D.C., 1942.


Joseph Lorenzo Hall
UC Berkeley, SIMS PhD Student
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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:12 2004

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