The paper ballot system employs uniform official ballots of various stock weights on which the names of all candidates and issues are printed. Voters record their choices, in private, by marking the boxes next to the candidate or issue choice they select and drop the voted ballot in a sealed ballot box.
This paper ballot system was first adopted in the Australian state of Victoria in 1856, and in the remaining Australian states over the next several years. The paper ballot system thereafter became known as the “Australian ballot.” New York became the first American State to adopt the paper ballot for statewide elections in 1889.
As of 1996, paper ballots were still used by 1.7% of the registered voters in the United States. They are used as the primary voting system in small communities and rural areas, and quite often for absentee balloting in other jurisdictions.