: Does the rejection of pure proceduralism show that we should adopt Brettschneider’s value theory of democracy? The answer, this paper suggests, is ‘no’. There are a potentially infinite number of incompatible ways to understand democracy, of which the value theory is, at best, only one. The paper illustrates and substantiates its claims by looking at what the secret ballot shows us about the importance of privacy and democracy. Drawing on the reasons to reject Mill’s arguments for open voting, in a previous paper by A. Lever, it argues that people’s claims to privacy have a constitutive, as well as an instrumental, importance to democratic government, which is best seen by attending to democracy as a practice, and not merely as a distinctive set of values.