Mechanized Secrecy: A genealogy of democratic spaces

This exhibit examines how the secret ballot reorganized the act of voting in the United States in the late 19th century. In the late 1880s, the secret ballot emerged as a solution to several forms of fraud plaguing the US electoral process. Examining 280 patents for various electoral technologies filed between 1865-1910, I investigate how the secret ballot elaborated a technological arrangement that rendered certain forms of fraud solvable through the application of electoral technologies such as the automatic voting booth, mechanical lever voting machines, and mechanized ballot boxes.