The City of London elected four MPs to the House of Commons until 1885. George Grote was elected as one of four Liberals in 1832, serving until 1841. Grote – a philosopher radical who once gave money to Auguste Comte, the French founder of sociology – introduced an annual bill to parliament for the provision of the (secret) ballot.
In December 1837, the Fife Herald noted that it had been sent a “model of Mr Grote’s balloting box, which has been exhibited at many public meetings”. The Newcastle Journal called it the “rat-trap ballot box”: voters had to punch the card with a piece of metal and then press a button so that the card fell into the box. The newspaper felt that this would disenfranchise the illiterate and the blind and, as such, “It will never do.”