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The last ballot box

All-postal ballots help to raise turnout, but what about secrecy?

By John Morrison   December 2003

Like mains drainage and the national railway timetable, voting by secret ballot is an example of “what the Victorians did for us.” But unlike other legacies of the 19th century, the secret ballot’s days are numbered if changes to the law on how Britons cast their votes go ahead.

Introduced here by Gladstone in the 1872 Ballot Act, the system of sealed ballot boxes, voting slips and polling stations is so familiar that we take it for granted. But abolition is moving closer, and we shall miss it when it is gone. The next general election may be the last…

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