in oregon, reformer william s. u'ren established the referendum, in which the people voted to decide some issues directly. in new york, governor charles evans hughes pushed through the first workmen's compensation act, providing benefits for injured workers.
the secret ballot was one of many reforms first proposed by the populists. in the past, each party had a brightly colored ballot; after marking it, the voter dropped it into a ballot box in full view of everyone in the room. the secret ballots looked the same and were marked in private, so people did not have to reveal how they had voted.