Sunday 20 November 2016

No Stuffing Allowed

Nowadays when we vote, we use a paper ballot that gets put into a cardboard box.  Well, in Canada anyway - the U.S. is an entirely different story!  But back in the day, ballot boxes were made of wood with the name of the polling area engraved into them.

You can see the box in this picture has "Westfield" engraved into it with gold lettering.

It was sealed with wax in order to secure it and minimize the risk of having the ballot box "stuffed" with fake votes.  You can still see some of the red wax that was used to seal this box.

The box has a brass handle on top and a hinged lid.  When you open it, you can still smell the wood.  You know that feeling you get when you open a new book and smell that wonderful, new book smell?  It's a very similar feeling.

The good thing about using wooden boxes is that they weren't discarded and could be used over and over again - very environmentally friendly.  The not-so-good side was that they had to be stored somewhere safety so they wouldn't suffer damage like rot and mold.  Imagine how much space a ballot box for each polling area would take up!  Each box also had a key to lock it, which you can see if you look closely at the bottom of this one.  This ballot box was found in the attic of the Kings Co. Courthouse and was donated to the museum in 1966.  It's currently used as our admissions donation box.

And, if you come to the museum and want to smell the ballot box, just ask.  I totally understand. 

1 comment:

  1. So much more elegant than the cardboard ones we use today.