The Secret Ballot

The Secret Ballot is a voting method in which a voter’s choices in an election or a referendum are anonymous, forestalling any attempt to influence the voter by intimidation and potential vote buying. This definition is from Wikipedia, the fount of all defining knowledge.

All this talk on TV about the election in 2016 and Election Day this past Tuesday has got me thinking about the Secret Ballot. I capitalize it because it is that important. My father taught me something when I was about ten years old. I had just become aware that there were Democrats and Republicans and asked him which he was and who he was voting for. He said, “ That’s none of your business.” I was taken aback. Then he said “I tell you, you tell your friend, your friend tells his friend, his friend tells his father who tells my boss at work, who maybe disagrees with me, and my workplace becomes compromised. So that’s why we have a Secret Ballot. It was an important lesson and why I hold my Secret Ballot tight to my chest today.

How did we become such partisan people? I discuss issues with my friends and family, but it is not my point to persuade them to anything. I am interested in their views if they are different from mine. I certainly would not put a “Vote For” sign on my lawn or an electioneering bumper sticker on my car.

My first vote was in 1968. I had just turned twenty-two. Lyndon B. Johnson vs. Barry M. Goldwater. I was living at home, teaching school and paying my father for my car, which he had loaned me the money to buy. I voted Democrat. My father told me that he didn’t know a lot about politics, but he did know that when the Democrats were in power, he didn’t worry about his job. When the Republicans were in, it was a constant worry. He said, “ Most people vote their pocket books.” I even think my dyed in the wool Republican mother-in-law voted Democrat that year. Goldwater was too far out there for some. Now they’re all too far out there, right and left.

I asked Peter if he voted that year. He said he didn’t think so. He had to vote in New Hampshire, his home of record, which meant requesting an absentee ballot and he was doing a UNITAS cruise around South America operating with all the South American Navies at the time and dating all the ambassadors daughters and going to embassy parties and voting was not on his radar, as stressed out as he was by his social life.

We voted for the first time in a voting booth after Peter left the Navy. We were in Los Alamos. Peter and I went to the voting place. Neighbors and friends were there and everyone was meeting and greeting. No placards or politicking. They had to stay 200 feet from the polling place. Everyone exercised his or her Secret Ballot. Peter said this morning, ”I have no idea who you vote for. It could be Attila the Hun for all I know, and I know better than to ask.” It’s the American way. Compromise it we shouldn’t.

3 thoughts on “The Secret Ballot”

  1. SYT- Thought you could throw me off your trail, did you? Well, using dot com didn’t do it Ms. Lovely because I picked up on that and used dot net as a result of some forensic science.
    L ‘n’ S,

  2. I remember when you started this blog and you were concerned about running out of topics! This is just great Joanne and I look forward to it each week. I hope you turn it into a memoir. It’s a delightful read!

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