The Evolution of the Secret Ballot and the Introduction of the Australian Ballot System
A major shift occurred when states began to adopt the Australian ballot system.
Opponents of the Australian ballot system raised numerous arguments against the secret ballot.
87) With an Australian Ballot, a person would not be permitted to vote on any ballot except those tendered by
Opponents to the Australian Ballot argued that the Convention did not have the power to change the general election laws that the territory had in place.
Conversely, Delegate Williams argued that the Australian Ballot system would protect honest voters.
Another theory, known as the legal-institutional theory, holds that reforms enacted during the Progressive Era, notably the adoption of the Australian ballot
and the greater imposition of registration requirements, led to the decline in voting.
and others of the time noted, the Australian ballot eliminates the
buying, the Australian ballot can give an electoral advantage to
We also argue that the use of the Australian ballot probably served as a safety valve in terms of allowing state politicians to eschew the switch to merit by ignoring heightened demands for spoils.
Moreover, although politicians could have shirked patronage demands insofar as the state employed the Australian ballot and thus eschewed merit system adoptions, the secret ballot appears to have provided less than satisfactory refuge.
The Australian ballot
made vote buying problematic since what was actually cast was secret.
Specifically, we show a significant increase in the probability of an individual House member retaining his assignments from one Congress to the next (about 10% for the typical member in our sample) immediately following a flurry of state adoptions of Australian ballot laws in the 1889-92 period.
LEGISLATIVE ORGANIZATION, THE AUSTRALIAN BALLOT, AND THE ELECTORAL CONNECTION
Disaffected politicians and labor organizers destroyed party control of elections by successfully campaigning for the Australian ballot