Did you know that the ancient Athenians voted for their heads of state by selecting a pebble or a pottery shard called an ostraca and placing it in an urn.
Citizens of the ancient city-state of Sparta voted for their favorite candidate by shouting. The judges were secluded out of sight but within hearing distance as the candidates were brought out one by one and the voters shouted their preference. Whoever received the loudest shouts won the election.
Members of the Eastern Lenape Native American peoples in Lancaster County Pennsylvania selected their leader by consensus. They chose the person that they felt was the most qualified, i.e., had “wisdom, courage and a good heart for the people.” All members of the tribe had to agree.
In the southern colony of Virginia and elsewhere only the wealthiest gentry voted for their officials. Polling took place in the town square of the county seat. Each voter stood up and announced publicly who his choice was. Each candidate personally thanked each voter for his vote. Each vote was recorded by name and it was accepted practice to heckle the candidates in a good-natured way.
The first president of the United States, George Washington, was chosen, not by a vast electorate, but “by a small, unanimous vote of electors” .
Voting has taken varied forms over varied cultures, reflecting the ideals and ethics of its populace. To read more about election and voting go to the Upper Arlington Public LIbrary's databases.