Prior to the adoption of the secret ballot, political parties could effectively offer money in return for votes. The secret ballot eliminated direct vote buying, but at the price of giving incumbents an electoral advantage.

Jac C. Heckelman is an associate professor of economics and the McCulloch Family Fellow at Wake Forest University.
DemocracyEconomyElections and Election LawGovernment and PoliticsLaw and LibertyPhilosophy and ReligionPolitical TheoryPublic Choice
Other Independent Review articles by Jac C. Heckelman
Spring 2017 Companion to the Political Economy of Rent Seeking
Spring 2003 Now More Than Ever, Your Vote Doesn’t Matter: A Reconsideration