Ballot boxes were used by the members
of a golf club to anonymously determine who would become a new member.
When somebody applied for membership and their name made it to a final vote, each person
voting would pick up a single voting ball (usually the size of a marble or slightly larger and made from clay) and then place their hand into the
center opening of the ballot box.
They would then release the ball to
the left or right (there is a divider between the two drawers inside the
box just below the opening) in order to register their yes or no vote.
After everybody had voted, the balls would be counted, and the verdict announced.
With this Ballot box, the top hinges open and a person can pick up the balls in one side of the divider and count them, then repeat for the other side. The latch on this ballot box is stamped "J.E.A.S 2232/18 Pat. etc." This references a British patent application (No. 2232) that was filed in 1918, which identifes this box as just over a hundred years old.
Nice old ballot boxes are few and far between. This one is in wonderful condition.