The lottery has changed very little since it started.
Tradition is important in the village where the story takes place. In fact, it is so important that no one ever wants to make any changes of any kind. They do not even want to change the box or the stool that are used for the lottery. They only replaced the black box when it was falling apart, and that was with pieces of the other box. The stool has three legs.
Some minor changes have happened over the course of the years in this particular village. Since they know everyone in the town and everything happens the same way every time, they have gradually done away with some of the formality.
There was the proper swearing-in of Mr. Summers by the postmaster, as the official of the lottery; at one time, some people remembered, there had been a recital of some sort, performed by the official of the lottery … but years and years ago this part of the ritual had been allowed to lapse.
The town dispenses with the chant and the ritual salute. They used to have a formal greeting to each person as they approached, but since the town has only three hundred people it no longer seems necessary. During the ceremony, things proceed in much the way they always have because everyone is so used to it.
The people had done it so many times that they only half listened to the directions: most of them were quiet, wetting their lips, not looking around. Then Mr. Summers raised one hand high and said, "Adams." A man disengaged himself from the crowd and came forward. "Hi. Steve." Mr. Summers said. and Mr. Adams said. "Hi. Joe." They grinned at one another humorlessly and nervously.
The conversation about another village ending its lottery is a good example of how very little has changed. The older people in the village seem to think that it is a ridiculous idea to cancel the lottery. The lottery is tradition, and you don’t mess with tradition. If they won’t get another box or stool, the chances of them cancelling it are pretty slim.