Glass Globe Ballot Jar


By the mid-nineteenth century almost all of the states had switched from voice-voting to written ballots. The basic ballot box in the United States included a top slot and a lock to keep the votes secure until they were ready to be counted. Like the slot-top wooden ballot box, this 1884 box with a glass chamber is typical of the devices used to secure single party tickets. Since the globe was glass, observers could determine the party ticket of the vote being cast. This lack of anonymity was thought to help thwart the dominance of political machines and electoral fraud. The image of the glass ballot box became a symbol of democratic self-government, and appeared in numerous politcal cartoons advocating political reform.


National Museum of American History.