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Voting Technology


Originally only white males who owned property or paid a poll tax could vote ... Voter punches through to card with stylus, removing shape or chad ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Voting Technology

Voting Technology
  • How we arrived at where we are today

Tradition of participation
  • From the time of the earliest settlements in the
    United States, citizens have selected their
  • U.S. Constitution formalized voting rights

Voting rights have changed who can vote
  • Originally only white males who owned property or
    paid a poll tax could vote
  • 15th Amendment after Civil War extended voting
    rights to black males
  • 19th Amendment in 1920 granted women the right to
  • 24th Amendment in 1964 abolished poll taxes
  • 26th Amendment in 1971 granted the right to vote
    to citizens aged 18 and older

How we vote has changed
  • Constitution allows states to pick the time,
    place and manner of elections
  • Result is difference requirements for voter
    registration, voter identification, polling
    locations, times and ballots
  • Differences led to How America Votes Act, enacted
    in October 2002 with certain uniform guidelines

Common voting steps
  • Voters must register
  • Usually 10 30 days in advance
  • In some states registration can be same day as
  • Some states permit online registration or
    registration when applying for drivers license
  • Appear at assigned polling place with required
  • Voter may then cast a ballot

How America Votes Act changes
  • Allows for provisional ballot
  • When a voters name does not appear on list
  • Voter cast provisional vote
  • Only count if voters information is verified
  • Establishes new procedures
  • Computerized state-wide voter registration
  • Posting of voter information at each polling

Voting mechanisms
  • No single preferred method
  • Each state defines what will be counted as vote
  • Under HAVA voting systems must
  • Permit voters to verify choices
  • Provide for a manual audit
  • Offer accessible voting for disabled
  • Meet federal language accessibility requirements
  • Meet federal error rate standards

Evolution of U.S. voting technology
  • In early America, first votes were oral
  • Paper votes became common in mid 1800s
  • Voters wrote in names, or
  • Voters used a ticket pre-printed by political
    party to which they signed their name
  • Used ballot box, leading to the term stuffing
    the ballot box
  • Problems No anonymity, mistakes from illegible
    writing, choices limited to partys slate

Lever Machines
  • Voter pulls lever over name of preferred
  • After voter leaves, levers return to original
    position, advancing internal counters
  • No individual record of votes, making a
    vote-by-vote recount impossible
  • Subject to breakdown and tampering
  • No longer acceptable for federal elections

Punch cards
  • Voter inserts computer punch card under ballot
  • Voter punches through to card with stylus,
    removing shape or chad
  • Computer device reads the card
  • System offers speed and recounts
  • Poor punching leads to inaccuracies
  • These machines being phased out

Optical scan voting
  • Similar to standardized tests
  • Voter marks ballot then
  • feeds into a tabulation machine, or
  • puts in ballot box
  • Problems if
  • mark is not dark enough
  • voter changes mind
  • multiple marks on the page

Electronic Voting
  • Direct recording electronic technology
  • Voter pushes button or touches screen
  • Vote recorded in machines memory
  • Tabulates quickly virtually error-free
  • Needs a paper trail for recount, verification and
    to help detect errors

Internet voting
  • Allows voting from any computer with Internet
  • Calls attention to the digital divide based on
    income, education and disability standpoint use
    of the Internet is not available to all voters
  • Fear that hackers could compromise the system

HAVA and voting integrity
  • Goal of HAVA to inspire confidence in election
  • HAVA requires a permanent paper record
  • States beginning to require voter-verified paper
    trail for state elections
  • Paper receipt kept at polling place for manual

Successful election depends on
  • Accuracy of registration databases
  • Ability of voters to understand new technology
  • Ability of voters to use provisional ballots
  • Manual audits when needed
  • Uniform guidelines for all states

Integrity of electoral process
  • Secrecy of ballot
  • Safeguards against fraud
  • Protection against voter intimidation