1872 Reform Act (Secret Ballot)

After the passing of the 1867 Reform Act working class males now formed the majority in most borough constituencies. However, employers were still able to use their influence in some constituencies because of the open system of voting. In parliamentary elections people still had to mount a platform and announce their choice of candidate to the officer who then recorded it in the poll book. Employers and local landlords therefore knew how people voted and could punish them if they did not support their preferred candidate. In 1872 William Gladstone removed this intimidation when his government brought in the Ballot Act which introduced a secret system of voting.

William Hogarth, An Election: The Polling (1754)
William Hogarth, An Election: The Polling (1754)
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