When Mark Twain voted in Missouri he stood in the public square and bawled out his choices, then watched as his vote was recorded. He got to hang around and watch everyone else vote, so there was no chance of some tax-happy whig claiming to have won and giving raises to the vote-counters when nobody had called out his name. The Civil war changed all that.
The Civil war was over a second Tariff of Abominations such as caused the Nullification crisis during the Jackson Administration. Lincoln had the bad luck to be elected five months after the new tariff hike passed Congress in May of 1860. British capital had again fled These States to finance warships bombarding China into accepting opium imports from British India, so money was tight, liquidity scarce, and the Big Government party–this time mainly Red Republicans–was eager to increase revenue flow into Washington. Opium trader Warren Delano II, faced with great financial losses, rushed to China to rebuild his fortune. The interpreter for the US government in Japan was soon murdered.
By election time, the Morrill tariff had been bouncing back and forth in final stages, threatening Southern specie for five months pending action scheduled for Inauguration day, which was in March back then. But Southerners reacted first. South Carolina, on the 27th of December 1860, seized Fort Mourtrie and Castle Pinckney, a lighthouse and a schooner. Georgia, on the second day of January, 1861, took possession of Forts Pulaski and Jackson and the United States arsenal. On the 9th of January, 1861, South Carolina took possession of the steamer “Marion” at Charleston, and on that day the “Star of the West” was fired on. On the 11th of January, Louisiana seized Forts Jackson, St. Phillips and Pike, and the arsenal at Baton Rouge containing 50,000 small arms, 20 heavy pieces of ordnance, 300 barrels of powder and other military supplies. On the 12th of January Georgia grabbed the arsenal at Augusta containing howitzers, cannon, muskets and large stores of powder, ball and grape. On the same day she seized the United States steamer “Ida.” Florida, on the 12th of January, 1861, took over the Navy yards at Fort Barrancas and McRae; also the Chattahooche arsenal, containing 80,000 cartridges of different patterns and 50,000 pounds of gunpowder. Mississippi, on the 20th of January, seized the fort at Ship Island and the United States hospital on the Mississippi River. On the 28th of January, 1861 Louisiana took possession of all commissary and quartermaster stores in the possession of the United States officials within her borders. On the first of February, Louisiana seized the mint and customhouse containing $599,303 in gold and silver.
That day, William Tecumseh Sherman wrote: “Now, if the south have free trade, how can you collect revenues in the eastern cities? Freight from New Orleans to St. Louis, Chicago, Louisville, Cincinnati, and even Pittsburg, would be about the same as by rail from New York, and importers at New Orleans, having no duties to pay, would undersell the east if they had to pay duties.” Slavery never crossed the minds of anyone important in running the government, but the tariff was uppermost as the Treasury issued reams of notes.
On the 8th of February, Georgia took possession of all the money seized from customs. On the 21st she seized three New York vessels at Savannah. Texas, on the 20th of February, took forts Chadbourne and Belknap with all the property of the Overland Mail Company, two days after Jefferson Davis was sworn in as provisional president of the Confederacy. On Feb 20 Forts Chadbourne and Belknap were seized by the Texan rebels.
That was the situation before Abraham Lincoln was took the oath of office on March 4, 1861. Does it match what you were taught in government school?
The secret ballot was instituted in the occupied South during Reconstruction, so that votes were counted by them that bought them, not the citizens casting the votes.