Massachusetts Ballot

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MASSACHUSETTS BALLOT. Before 20 July 1629, all voting in New England was by acclamation or by the uplifted hand, but on that date the Salem church used the ballot in choosing a pastor. By 1634 the ballot was used in electing the governor of massachusetts. In 1645 Dorchester ordered that all "elections be by papers," that is, by ballots. Paper being scarce, kernels of wheat and Indian corn were sometimes used, the wheat for the affirmative and the corn for the negative. The Australian, or secret, ballot was introduced into the United States by Massachusetts in 1878.


Fredman, Lionel E. The Australian Ballot: The Story of an American Reform. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1968.

Miller, Perry. The New England Mind: From Colony to Province. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1983.

R. W. G.Vail/a. g.

See alsoColonial Assemblies ; Council for New England ; Massachusetts Body of Liberties ; New England Way ; Suffrage: Colonial Suffrage .

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Massachusetts Ballot

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Massachusetts Ballot