This Is What Democracy Looked Like


Remember when we used to host lectures? Those were the days. One of the last events we had before things shut down was a talk by Alicia Cheng—and now she’s gone and written a book. (In truth, the book was written before she spoke here.) This Is What Democracy Looked Like is the first illustrated history of printed ballot design, illuminating the noble but often flawed process at the heart of our democracy. (Our democracy has a heart?) This exploration and celebration of US ballots from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is a visual history that reveals unregulated, outlandish, and, at times, absurd designs that reflect the explosive growth and changing face of the voting public. The ballots offer insight into a pivotal time in American history—a period of tectonic shifts in the electoral system—fraught with electoral fraud, disenfranchisement, scams, and skullduggery, as parties printed their own tickets and voters risked their lives going to the polls. Sound familiar?

Author: Alicia Yin Cheng
Size: 7 × 10.5 inches
Pages: 176
Binding: Hardcover
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press, 2020