Get rid of the secret ballot?

Should the Democrats try to get rid of the secret ballot? One thing that we’ve learned from the recent election is that people were more willing to vote for Trump than they were to tell a pollster non-anonymously “I am voting for Trump.” Given that opposition to ideas put forward by Democrats can be attacked as “lacking empathy”, why not an initiative for Accountability in Voting? Who wants to go on record as opposing “Equal Pay” and “rights for [disabled|LGBT|women|minorities”? Who wants to tell neighbors “I don’t think that rich people should pay their ‘fair share’ of taxes?” Raise your hand if you want women to be sexually assaulted on college campuses.

It would not be unconstitutional to have an “open ballot,” would it? Wikipedia says that we didn’t have secret ballots in the U.S. until roughly 1884. It seems as though an open ballot would favor whatever party promised a larger range of welfare state programs.


  • Election follow-up: Finding the true prophets


  1. Neal

    November 10, 2016 @ 2:14 pm


    >One thing that we’ve learned from the recent election
    >is that people were more willing to vote for Trump
    >than they were to tell a pollster non-anonymously
    >“I am voting for Trump.”

    or that rural areas where Trump’s support was strongest were systematically under polled, or both.

  2. Steve

    November 10, 2016 @ 2:35 pm


    But then you could be extorted into filling out the ballot in a particular way. Who wouldn’t vote a certain way to get their children released from the kidnappers?

  3. Dingus

    November 10, 2016 @ 5:57 pm


    I think that’s a great idea Phil. I think we should make voting mandatory to go with that. Than we know where everyone stands! We could make things even more convenient for people by automatically enrolling those who vote with a lack of empathy in sensitivity classes. Those who vote irrationally for obviously ridiculous candidates can be given political history lessons, so next time they can make a more informed choice.

  4. superMike

    November 10, 2016 @ 6:01 pm


    I think Dingus might have figured it out

  5. Jack

    November 10, 2016 @ 8:35 pm


    Well then you have money politics, the third world kind (vote buying)

  6. Bytor the Snow Dog

    November 10, 2016 @ 11:22 pm


    Deep end. You’ve gone off it.

  7. Bytor the Snow Dog

    November 10, 2016 @ 11:28 pm


    Unless this post is sarcasm. Can’t be sure.

  8. mishka

    November 11, 2016 @ 11:06 am


    > Bytor the Snow Dog

    If you are not sure whether it is sarcasm… my pity on you.

  9. the other Donald

    November 11, 2016 @ 11:21 am


    It is sarcasm, as most of them are. philg reads better on aviation and taxation than politics or family law, but he lives in a place where politics and family law are quite distorted.

    As for polling, I understand the biggest problem is the pollsters trying to adjust the samples, and the inapplicability of polling in the first place. The actual election results in places where it matters were well within the margins of polling error. This tells me polling is useless unless the likely outcomes are almost obvious. Many poll announcements were appended with “these results are within the margins of error” (as if many voters knew what that meant, some probably thought it meant “these results are pretty good”). A more useful announcement would be “This race is too close to poll. You’ll have to wait for the actual count.” Once people in the swing states saw enough of these results, perhaps they would get off their ass and vote instead of letting some reader tell them it wasn’t necessary.

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