EDITORIAL: How political donations can open up donors to retaliation

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The secret ballot dates back literally thousands of years; even the ancient Greeks voted anonymously on matters such as ostracism. (Today, of course, most ostracism takes place in full view in the sewer that is social media.) The secret ballot protects all of us and our democratic rights by allowing citizens to express their preference without fear of retaliation. It’s a crucial right to privacy, one that ensures the free and fair functioning of our political system. Secret ballots are enshrined in everything from student council and condo board elections to the vote for president of the United States.

There’s something of a loophole in the system, however: Monetary donations to political candidates and causes, no matter how minuscule, are matters of public record. There may be arguments in favor of this system based on “transparency,” but there is also an inherent danger. The disclosure of political donations opens


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