Why Don’t Jurors Get Ballots?

It occurs to me that jurors are left to their own devices when it comes to voting ballots on an indictment. Don’t think that it is merely a question of voting “guilty/not guilty” either; modern indictments contain multiple counts and multiple defendants. There is a verdict form on which the results of the balloting can be recorded, but uniform, anonymous ballots to record individual votes are not provided.

Let’s take a somewhat typical federal case involving three defendants and three counts each. That’s one hundred and eight decisions to be expressed on 54 ballots, assuming twelve jurors and a guilty/not guilty ballot for each of the three counts.

Jurors are not told how to accomplish their voting and have no special skills. With so many decisions to make, the temptation to call for a mere “show of hands” and the peer pressure that obtains, great. Balloting should be personal and anonymous.

Maybe they should be given voting machines.