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How did changes in voting procedures enable government leaders to be elected more...

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rubyvergara | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 4, 2011 at 4:12 AM via web

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How did changes in voting procedures enable government leaders to be elected more democratically?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 4, 2011 at 5:10 AM (Answer #1)

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I assume that you are talking about the changes in voting procedures that happened during the Progressive Era.  During this time, there were a few changes, mainly at the state and local level, that allowed more democratic elections.

The most important of these was the secret ballot.  In many cities before the Progressive Era, secret ballots were not used.  The use of secret ballots was meant to help break the power of urban political machines and allow more democratic elections of city officials.  This was also the reason for the institution of non-partisan and at-large city elections.

On the state level, many states started using primary elections during this time.  This allowed people to actually vote to decide who the candidates for each party would be instead of having party bosses make the choices.  This was an important step towards democracy.  Finally, the 17th Amendment required US Senators to be directly elected by the people instead of being selected by state legislatures.

All of these changes in voting procedures increased the amount of democracy in the US.

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