The Ballot Act receives the Royal Assent

The Second Reform Act of 1867 had enfranchised the skilled working class in borough constituencies and it was feared these voters would be particularly susceptible to bribery by agents or intimidation or blackmail by employers or landlords. In order to solve this problem the Act required that local and parliamentary elections should be held by secret ballot. Liberals generally supported the idea of a secret ballot and the Ballot Act came during Gladstone’s first administration but some famous voices, including those of Lord John Russell and J S Mill, were raised against the idea, claiming that public affairs should be open and that voting is a trust not a right.