What is the secure voting principle
of H.S. Chapman
inspired plan for ‘secure voting’ answered the
persistent objections of the Chief Secretary
W.C.Haines and Attorney General W.Stawell in the
The first had complained that it
would be impossible to distinguish a dishonest vote
from an honest vote if voting was entirely secret.
The second had lashed himself into ‘a foaming
frenzy’ fulminating that the secret ballot,
originally suggested, was ‘unworkable, mischievous
and would cause enormous expense’:
“The mischief of the ballot was that,
by it, every facility was given for double voting
and impersonation. There would be nothing to prevent
a man from asking for a card, and getting one, at
every booth (Victorian
History Magazine Vol .8 1920 p.12).”
Professor Scott summarised the final scheme of the
Victorian Parliament thus:
That the Returning Officer (RO) should provide
at every booth or polling place a separate or inner
room or compartment, where any communication or
observation from without is impracticable.
The voter should prepare his ballot paper, mark out
the names of the candidate for whom he did not
intend to vote, and deposit the same in the ballot
box. He should cause to be placed in the booth a
desk or table provided with ink and pens, and
another table with a locked box of which the RO
should keep the key, with a cleft or opening in such
box capable of receiving the ballot papers.
The RO should provide for printing the names of the
candidates on ballot-papers, which he should keep in
his custody till the day of election, when he should
deliver such number of ballot-papers, signed by
himself, as he should deem sufficient for the
electors, who might vote at each booth or polling
place, to the Deputy Returning Officers.
Each candidate should appoint one person, who should
make a declaration pledging him to assist faithfully
at the election and to act as a scrutineer at the
The RO, having satisfied himself of the right to
vote of any person presenting himself as an elector,
should deliver one ballot-paper to him. His name
should then be marked in a book compiled in a
consecutive series of the alphabet, commencing with
A. The RO should enter a
number, in consecutive series commencing with no. 1,
opposite the name of each elector, and write the
corresponding number opposite his name in the book
on the ballot paper of the elector.
Each Deputy RO should seal the unused ballot papers
in a parcel and deliver them to the RO with an
account specifying the number used by voters, and
those left unused. A further amendment to the Bill
in 1863 provided that all ballot papers should be
sealed up at the close of the election, and
forwarded to the Clerk of the Legislative Council or
Assembly, according as whether the election may have
concerned the one or the other, to be kept by him
safely for a year.
TV camera and operator
on the balcony watching the counting the UK.
The first Victorian
Parliament as an independent State, the first in the world to be elected by this
method, met in this handsome building. It was copied world –wide in America, the
UK, and many other countries, and still operates in the UK.
"That the electoral system is open to
manipulation is beyond question
... Fraudulent enrolment is almost impossible to prevent."
(NSW Electoral Commissioners, Messrs R.
Cundy and Ian Dickson, NSW Government