Thursday, March 31, 2011

Federal Election history 4, September 1878: He's baaaak.

Was open voting such a bad thing?  Not the violence and intimidation part, but the idea that citizens ought to stand up in public and take responsibility before their neighbours for their electoral choice?  Does that not have some merit?  As an MP said in the 1874 debate on the bill that ended open voting,: "Under vote by ballot an elector may take your money and vote as he likes without detection."

Anyway, the 1878 federal election was the first fought under the new election rules introduced by the Liberal government in 1874:  one voting day everywhere, bars closed on election day, new anti-corruption controls -- and the secret ballot.

Macdonald running on an effective platform rooted in the National Policy slogan, crushed Alexander Mackenzie's government, and was sworn in with a big majority.  He'd be in for the rest of his life.
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