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Voting Forms

Page history last edited by Sarah Mann 11 years, 10 months ago

Previous Section: Voter Participation

History of Voting Machines

 

Paper Ballots:

Paper ballots were first used in 1856 in the Australian state of Victoria and because of this, the paper ballot system became known as the "Australian ballot."  In 1889, New York became the first state in America to use the paper ballots for state level elections.  The paper ballot system is a multitude of paper ballots with the names of the candidates printed on them.  Voters mark the box next to the candidate they want and drop the ballot into a sealed ballot box.  This process allows voters today to vote in complete privacy.  The paper ballot system is rarely used today expect in rural areas and small communities.  However, many states still use the paper ballot system for absentee ballots.  This allows people to vote-by-mail or vote-by-fax with paper ballots.

 

Mechanical Lever Machines:

Mechanical lever machines were first used in 1892 in Lockport, New York.  They were known as the "Myers Automatic Booth" and four years later these machines became statewide.  By 1930, mechanical lever machines were found all over the United States and by 1960 most votes were casted in this manner.  A mechanical lever machine has the name of each candidate or ballot issue assigned to a particular lever.  The levers are arragned in a rectanuglar manner on the front of the machine.  The levers are horizontal before voting and then pulled down to vote.  The mechanical lever machine also contains a lever that opens and closes a curtain for privacy.  When the lever is pulled down, the curtain closes, and when the lever is ready to leave he or she opens the handle to the privacy curtain and the voter levers are automatically returned to their horizontal positions.

 

Punch Cards:

Punch cards were first used in 1964 during the primary election in Georgia.  The puchcard system is a card or cards with a cmall clipboard-sized device used for recording votes.  Voters punch holes in the cards with a punch device opposite their candidate or issue choice.  The cards are either placed in a box or fed into a computer device.  There are two common types or punchcards.  "Votomatic" cards assign numbers to each candidate or issue and only numbers appear on the ballot.  The assigned numbers are found in a separate booklet.  "Davaote" cards have the cadidate or issue choice printed on the ballot next to an alloted place to punch a hole.

 

Marksense (optical scan):

The marksense voting system is comprised of ballot card with the candidate's name and or issue choices printed on it.  Next to the candidate's name or issue choice is a blank rectangle, circle, oval, or an incomplete arrow.  To vote, voters fill in the shapes or complete the arrow.  Voters can either place the ballot in a sealed box or feed it into a computer device to be counted.

 

Direct Recording Electronic (DRE):

The direct recording electronic voting system is the most recent voting system.  This system is comprised of an electronic implemtation of the previous mechanical level systems.  Like the lever systems, there is no ballot but rather the choice are visible to the voter on the front of the machine.  Voters enter choices using a touch-screen, push buttons, or a simliar device.  Typically, an alphabetic keyboard is provided with the entry so write-in votes can be made.  The voters' votes are stored in the memory of these machines (memory cartridge, diskette, or smart card). 

 

Information:

Bellis, Mary “The History of Voting Machines” About.com: Inventors http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa111300b.htm> (30 November 2009).

 

Next Section: Voting Districts

Comments (1)

mberry said

at 9:54 am on Nov 17, 2009

Don't confuse voting processes with vote counting processes! You'll need to divide the 2 for clarity!

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