Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



The Vote is Cast

Yisrael Rutman

You may be too young to vote, but this article will give you a glimpse of what US voters will be doing on November 8

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

 Mishpacha image

 

N ovember 8, 2016 is a big day in the United States: Election Day, an event that only happens once every four years. Millions of Americans from New York to California and Alaska to Florida will cast their vote for president of the United States, as well as governors, senators, congressmen, and local leaders. (If “millions” is too vague for you, then, okay, in 2012, exactly 129,085,403 votes were cast for president.)">

Voting has really changed over the years, from a simple show of hands to the computerized systems we have nowadays. You may be too young to vote, but this article will give you a glimpse of what your parents will be doing behind that curtain in the voting booth. Older readers might learn something too…

Why All the Secrecy?
In the United States, voting is secret. No one is supposed to know who you vote for. Why all the secrecy? Are people ashamed of who they’re voting for? ">

Well, yes, sometimes they are. Like if they told their friends they’d vote for a different candidate. Or if they voted according to racial or religious prejudice. But the main reason isn’t shame; it’s fear. ">

Until 1888, Americans voted openly. In some places, they even announced their choices out loud. As a result, in those pre-curtain days, everybody knew who everyone was voting for, and this led to people being bribed, or threatened to vote a certain way — “or else.” Crooked politicians or gangsters would watch to make sure people voted “the right way.” ">

In 1888, Louisville, Kentucky adopted a secret ballot. They called it “the Australian ballot” because Australia had it first. By 1892, it had become standard procedure all over the United States. A person marked a box next to a candidate’s name on a card and dropped it into a sealed box, so nobody would know how he voted. ">

Ballot Problem

The secret ballot has its drawbacks, though. One of the undemocratic aspects of democracy is something called “ballot stuffing.” Candidates behind in votes would simply stuff the ballot boxes with more voting slips marked for them until they pulled ahead. Since the slips had no names on them, officials couldn’t tell if the slips in any box were legitimate votes, each placed by a different voter, or whether one person had dumped in 50 or 100 for his candidate. It’s a common problem. They have to be careful, though. For example, if there are more votes in the box than people who live in the district, it’s a giveaway of funny business.

Related Stories

Jr. Tales: Monkey See, Monkey Do

Rachel Stein

“I figured you’d want to do a little touring,” she said. “So I arranged for us to go on a jungle tri...

Jr. Tales: Best Man for the Job

Rachel Stein

I have to win the class election! Sruli thought, his heart doing a wild dance. I just have to!

Claim to Fame: Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein

C. B. Lieber

The Shabbos Project has touched the lives of millions of people around the world, and it all began w...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you