voting machine

(redirected from Voting machines)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to Voting machines: Electronic voting machines

voting machine,

instrument for recording and counting votes. The voting machine itself is generally positioned in a booth, often closed off by a curtain to assure secrecy for the voter.

In the case of older mechanical voting machines, when a voter enters the booth and closes the curtain by means of a lever, the machine unlocks for voting. The titles of all elective offices are listed on the face of the machine along with the party candidates running for each office. Above each name is a lever which, when depressed, indicates a vote for that candidate. Only one candidate for each office may be selected. Write-in votes are possible and propositions are placed at the top of the ballot. When the voter pulls the curtain open to leave, the machine automatically registers the vote and is cleared for use by the next person.

The mecahnical voting machine was first used in New York state in 1892, and came to be used throughout the United States. Faster and more accurate in tabulating the vote than the paper ballotballot,
means of voting for candidates for office. The choice may be indicated on or by the ballot forms themselves—e.g., colored balls (hence the term ballot, which is derived from the Italian ballotta,
..... Click the link for more information.
, mechanical voting machines were gradually replaced in many parts of the United States in the late 20th cent. by so-called electronic or computerized voting machines. In one form of electronic voting, voters indicate their preferences using punch cards that are read by computer, but in the United States punch cards fell out of favor after their use led to controversy in the 2000 presidential election. Both lever-type mechanical voting machines and punch-card-based machines were replaced by other systems with federal aid provided under the Help American Vote Act (2002).

Other modern voting technologies include the optical-scan system, in which marked ballots are read by computer using optical sensingoptical sensing,
in general, any method by which information that occurs as variations in the intensity, or some other property, of light is translated into an electric signal. This is usually accomplished by the use of various photoelectric devices.
..... Click the link for more information.
, and the direct-record electronic voting system, in which a voter chooses a candidate by means of push buttons or touch screens on a computerized voting machine, which tallies the votes. A number of experts, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology, have called for direct-record electronic systems to have increased safeguards against potential computer tampering and/or to provide a paper record of an individual's vote so that a non-electronic means of recounting a challenged electoral result would exist.

Estonia has used Internet voting, via a website, as an alternative form of voting. Voters use a computer-readable identification card and enter two passwords before they vote. The method was pioneered in local elections in 2005 and used in national elections in 2007.

The voting machine's greatest asset is protection against voting fraud or human error. However, critics claim that it intimidates some citizens, that some machines are subject to breakdown, and that fraud is not completely eliminated. Computerized voting machines that use punch cards are also susceptible to voter error, as they lack the means to prevent a person from voting for two candidates for the same office, and can fail to register a vote clearly.

For many years the United States was the only country that used voting machines extensively; Brazil now uses a national computerized voting system. The cost of voting machines, combined with less frequent elections and simpler ballots in many countries, make them impractical for worldwide use.

References in periodicals archive ?
After a series of studies conducted by the ministry, a prototype of the required electronic voting machine was manufactured, Siamak Rahpeyk, an election official with the Council of Guardians, told the Tasnim news agency.
In this regard, the election commission has contacted 11 companies dealing in biometric machine and electronic voting machine.
I personally asked the people that we met that whether they have ever experienced any technical problems, when it comes to the electronic voting machines and with confidence they said no, they haven't seen.
In some cases, the pressure to have enough voting machines in place--and properly programmed--in time for primaries has led to creative solutions.
From the now infamous punch card systems to brand new electronic voting equipment, voting machines no longer have the automatic confidence of America's voters.
There is less than one chance in a billion that the people who are preparing to steal this fall's election with computer voting machines give a rat's ass for people with disabilities.
Moreover, the Advantage L Touch Screen, the latest DRE from Sequoia, meets Section 301 of HAVA and New York State requirements -- including the placement of one handicap accessible voting machine in every polling place.
They all said that electronic voting machines (EVMs) is fine," Quraishi told reporters here on Wednesday.
I originally had high hopes for the new voting machines," said Noel Runyan, the author of the report.
In Texas, that meant new voting machines in the majority of localities.
Eisen, one of the most judicious reporters we know, delved into an aspect of the story that has received relatively little attention: the need disabled people have for electronic voting machines.
Since the cover story on voting machines in the January/February 2004 issue of the Humanist, just two months ago, more difficulties have come to light--both with the machines themselves as well as the corporations manufacturing them.