A voting booth is a small, sometimes enclosed space, for the express purpose of providing a modicum of privacy while voting. Some are flimsy, tall tables with screens on three sides and some are full cubicles with privacy curtains but all feature a table to write on. But why have booths at all?

The answer is of course secret ballots. In most democratic countries it's standard practice to have each person vote anonymously. This (at least in principle) prevents discrimination against anyone who casts an unpopular vote. In the days before secret ballots it was possible to lose a job or apartment over a vote since many votes were cast orally making it impossible to hide. Even when they went over to ballots cast on paper it was still possible to look over a persons shoulder, thus necessitating the booth.

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