Intimidation at the polling places. Long-simmering political tensions boiling over into violence. The Electoral College overriding the popular vote.
That’s right—we’re talking about 19th century American elections.
Author Todd DePastino was at Tuesday night’s Bridgeville Area Historical Society meeting to outline the long and lively history of dubious American election practices.
It was once legal to buy votes, DePastino said, whether with booze or cold, hard cash. And secret ballots didn’t become a nationwide standard until the 1880s. Election Day fights were normal and expected part of open-ballot voting in America, but in the years following the Civil War, the violence grew especially bad, prompting officials to allow secret ballots.
Check out DePastino’s entire hour-long presentation below: