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Hospital Voters

Ballot Box

Your guarantee that your secret vote is protected is a ballot box so smiling presidents, premiers and politicians imply as they drop folded ballot papers into a ballot box would have us believe.

A ballot box can only protect your secret vote if designed to do so.

  • It has only one slit for inserting ballot papers

  • It has a narrow slit to prevent insertion of more than one paper

  • It has no secret panel at the bottom

  • It is in one piece without fastenings that can be fiddled

  • It is continuously supervised without distraction.

None of these rules have been rigorously observed in Australian elections, which used indestructible metal boxes until recently.

A glass box, as used in French presidential elections, is unknown.


A ballot box can only protect your secret vote if no other pairs of hands have touched it but yours.


When other pairs of hands touch your ballot paper in a polling booth:

  • Pre-polling voting if the ballot box is behind the counter

  • Absentee voting if the official puts your vote in its envelope

  • Overseas voting if the ballot box is behind the counter

When votes are being cast outside the protection of the ballot box:

  • Postal votes where ballots pass through 12 pairs of hands

  • Hospital voters where others may fill out ballot papers

  • Migrant votes where leaders collect and fill out ballot papers

  • Absentee votes in transit over distances by various means.

A ballot box can only protect the value of  your vote if extra votes are not added or others removed during voting hours.

  • By voting in false names, adding photo-copied ballot papers

  • By voting in genuine names

  • By intrusion or theft of votes by corrupt officials.

A ballot box was once a security against all electoral fraud
when ballot papers only passed through one pair of hands. But your vote is at risk today if you are voting in a marginal seat.

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