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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Montgomery County Criminal Defense Attorney - Rules of Evidence Series RULE 506

The Texas Rule of Evidence allow a privilege related to the particular vote cast by an individual.

The secret ballot is not the original method of voting in America. In fact people once had to carry their own ballot which could have been names scribbled on paper, or a ballot printed and provided by a political party similar to mailers you might receive today. You would have to carry it with you and hand it to an election Judge in the town square. The precise practice varied greatly from place to place and could have included standing up when an election judge yelled out the name of your candidate. Hardly a secret practice. American States began to adopt what was called the Australian method of secret ballot.

An Australian Ballot was, "an official ballot printed at public expense on which the names of all the nominated candidates and proponents appear and which is distributed only at the polling place and marked in secret. Here is the best scan I can find of a definition from an old dictionary.

Some places in America still have open balloting systems including the famous Iowa caucuses which require you to arrive at a location like a local school or gym and then vote in a public way which even allows you to change your vote throughout the caucus moving from a candidate with little support to one with greater support.

There is now even a rule of evidence which protects your right to a secret ballot.

Rule 506. Political Vote Privilege A person has a privilege to refuse to disclose the person’s vote at a political election conducted by secret ballot unless the vote was cast illegally.


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