The unwillingness of so many to accept the results of elections — both in the United Kingdom over Brexit and in the US over the presidential election — has me thinking more and more about the future of the secret ballot. Never have I noticed so many people insisting others divulge their vote so that they can determine whether or not the person is worthy of human dignity. Take for example, the woman in the video below — sitting next to a guy on a plane bound from Baltimore-Washington Airport to Seattle. After she flat out asked him if he had come to Washington to celebrate or protest Trump, he said he had come to “celebrate democracy.” This put her into a rage in which she laid into him with such hostility that she ended up escorted off the plane:
Another example was the note sent by Bill Penzey of Penzey’s Spices (a store I no longer patronize) to inform his clientele that a great act of racism had just been committed by American voters, and that those who voted for Trump perhaps could redeem themselves by donating to the Southern Poverty Law Center or the American Civil Liberties Union. Rod Dreher wrote it all up on his blog here. I’m sure you can come up with many more examples of the prodding and suspicions of angry social justice warriors who seem to be looking for racists/xenophobes/transphobes/etc.etc. under every bush.
After Brexit, I wrote a piece for The Federalist “Why you Should Expect Challenges to Secret Ballot.” I sensed that we were entering a new chapter of mind hacking. The “shy Brexit” voter played coy with pollsters. And, clearly, so did shy Trump voters. Polling isn’t what it used to be because data mining and the punishments meted out for expressing politically incorrect views in our culture are causing more people to refuse to answer, or to refuse to answer truthfully. We can see the end point of this sort of thing in totalitarian societies where the likes of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un gets an approval rating of virtually 100 percent. Fear is the motivator. But having the protection of privacy as you vote your conscience is really beginning to frustrate the out-in-the-open politically correct crowd to no end.
In my essay, I observed the ways in which power elites might hope to get around what they see as the risks of secret ballot. We should think hard about all of this because any undermining of a citizen’s secret ballot would be a violation of the sacred right of freedom of conscience. It will likely start by making private voting optional, so that PC activists can take note of who makes use of a voting booth.
Here’s one excerpt, based on my personal observations of the set up of virtually optional polling booths:
I’ve observed a trend I find a bit unsettling: a climate that conveys secret ballot as optional. There are no voting booths. Instead, voters take their ballots to cafeteria-length tables that are strewn here and there with little tri-fold cardboard screens behind which they may mark their ballots if they so choose.
As an election officer, I’ve watched as people sit down and openly mark their ballots for all to see. In a couple of cases, they compared notes with a friend or spouse. When I alerted the head election judge to it, she merely shrugged. The laxity of the layout simply promoted that behavior. If the trend continues, I can imagine a point at which using a screen is socially viewed as having something to hide, and may even indicate how you voted. That’s just the way social dynamics work, especially in today’s atmosphere of political correctness.