Election Ballots have been used in political and other types of elections for centuries. Sometimes called a ticket, these ballots listed the names of people who are hoping to be elected. In early American political elections, ballots were specific to a party, listing every person from that party who was running for office. The voter would turn in the party ballot to the voting station. By 1888, many states began instituting secret ballot voting by supplying voters with ballots that listed several parties in columns, allowing the voter to choose a particular party of individual. They could then drop the ballot in a general ballot box and keep their election choices secret.
The American Antiquarian Society has a large collection of election ballots that include national, state, and town elections. The collection is housed in four boxes, three of which hold Massachusetts ballots ranging in date from 1827-1889. The fourth box holds ballots from a variety of other states, dating from 1811-1888. Because of the date ranges, these ballots are mainly party