In ancient Greece, secret ballots were used to hide votes from people seeking favors. Certain special votes, such as one to ostracize and thereby expel a citizen from Athens were also cast in private. In ancient Rome, the secret ballot was introduced to all popular assemblies in 139 BC. The constitution in France required that “All elections are to be held by secret ballot” since 1795. The secret ballot was also established generally in the British Ballot Act 1872. The individual states within the USA had completed their move to secret ballots when Kentucky adopted them in 1891.
Internationally, the right to hold elections by secret ballot is included in a variety of treaties and international agreements affecting their signatory states. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “The will of the people…shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which…shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.” The American Convention on Human Rights grants to every citizen of member states, of the Organization of American States, the right and opportunity “to vote and to be elected in genuine periodic elections, which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and by secret ballot that guarantees the free expression of the will of the voters”.
The Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension, obligates the member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to “ensure that votes are cast by secret ballot or by equivalent free voting procedure, and that they are counted and reported honestly with the official results made public.” The Convention on the Standards of Democratic Elections, Electoral Rights and Freedoms in the Member States of the Commonwealth of Independent States obligates electoral bodies not to perform “any action violating the principle of voter’s secret will expression.”
Within any authentic democratic republic, the votes of elected representatives are cast in public while the votes of individual citizens as they elect their representatives are cast in secret. Today, the authenticity of our democracy and the secrecy of ballots cast within the United States are increasingly undermined by partisan operatives due to a combination of executive malfeasance, legislative ineptitude, and judicial buffoonery. On the 13th of July in 2021, an Oklahoma lawmaker requested that the state election board call for a forensic and independent audit of the 2020 General Election results. The Republican candidate for president won the state by a margin of over 33% in the 2020 election. One must wonder about the motivation behind such a request, especially since the legislator’s favored candidate won every county within the state.
The audit requested by the Republican lawmaker would consist of a registration and votes cast audit, a vote count and tally audit, an election voting systems audit and a reported results audit. Could it be that the fraudit fanaticism, that has so many states in its grip, is not really about proving corruption? Could it be that the efforts to examine ballots and registrations is more about data scraping, compiling lists of voters and profiling them in accordance with their votes? Could it be that the election subversion efforts of malevolent anti-democracy forces are really about winning a voter-deception, voter-suppression, and voter intimidation trifecta?
Mo Brooks told the people gathering to protest the Trump loss, to “kick ass and take names.” We all witnessed the ass kicking as they stormed the Capital. Now we are confronted with the taking of names. They’re not fooling anybody except for those who are committed to being fools. If the emotionally charged and intellectually stunted hoards that stormed the United States Capitol, can turn their attention to harassing individual voters on the phone or at their door, they will be even more of a threat if they also appear at your home armed with your voting history.
Feigning reverence for our constitutionally grounded democratic republic and election integrity is a flawed tactic, for the truth eventually comes to light. Prevaricators will tell you that the Preamble to the United States Constitution was to have no operating effect while the founders clearly intended it to operate as a careful delineation of overarching principle. Those occupying positions of honor and trust that have, on oath, sworn to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, are duty bound to do just that.
There will always be shifty politicians masquerading as statesmen. But the voters have the ultimate responsibility for oversight in a participatory democracy. Democracy rests with the voters! When politicians are committed to corroding the democracy underpinnings of our constitutionally framed republic, it is up to us to expel them. When they are not sincere leaders, not guiding us into that more perfect union, they should be ousted.
Supreme Court Justices have given a wink and a nod to dark money contributions. They should be ostracized. When politicians receive dark money money contributions to misinform the consent of the governed, they should be forever barred from holding high office. When dark money corporate donors are distorting the public discourse in the name of free speech, there should be a rebuttable presumption that they too are bad actors.