The Daily Heller: Democracy, the Way it Used to Be
The quote "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others" (or similar phrasing to that effect) is frequently credited to Winston Churchill. It may have been pilfered from elsewhere, but in a democracy the ownership of language is not absolute.
In This is What Democracy Looked Like: A Visual History of the Printed Ballot by Alicia Yin Cheng, a founding partner of MGMT. design in Brooklyn, we have the first illustrated history of electoral ballot design. As publisher Princeton Architectural Press notes, the book "Illuminates the noble but often flawed process at the heart of our democracy." Cheng has assembled and annotated dozens of U.S. ballots from the 19th and early 20th centuries. This visual history reveals what passed for the democratic voting process—"the unregulated, outlandish and, at times, absurd designs that reflect the explosive growth and changing face of the voting public." The ballots provide insight into a critical time in American history fraught with electoral fraud, disenfranchisement, scams and skullduggery, as parties printed their own tickets and voters risked their lives going to the polls.
These pieces of paper serve as documents of the hard-fought and often wearily lost battles that made the one-man, one-vote system work—or not, depending on one's race, creed or color.