Machine Registers Votes Electrically (Aug, 1938)

Machine Registers Votes Electrically

ELIMINATING the possibility of “stuffed” votes, a new voting machine employs a photo-electric cell to count ballots inserted in it. As each ballot is dropped in the box it intersects a light beam, causing a mechanical counter to register the ballot. No matter how many ballots might be stuffed into the machine at one time, it will register receipt of only one.

7 comments
  1. Bob says: January 27, 20088:29 am

    How far we have advanced, now we can stuff ballot boxes electronically, even let the dead vote. Recent elections in Memphis, TN have had hundreds of the dead voting, all Democrats of course.

  2. Charlie says: January 27, 20088:39 am

    Of course, because Republicans would never cheat in an election. Honest through and through that party.

  3. Firebrand38 says: January 28, 200810:15 am

    I don’t think you want to raise honesty as a distinguishing factor between politicians.

  4. Myles says: January 28, 200811:34 am

    When did these magazines start having a little humility in their predictions? “Eliminating the possiblity” is a pretty strong statement to make about a sensor when people are trying to cheat.

  5. Firebrand38 says: January 28, 20087:36 pm

    I’m sure that they were just going off of what the inventor/backers told them.

    However, they didn’t promise to eliminate cheating, just ballot stuffing which is a kind of cheating.

    http://en.wikipedia.org…

    But really, when you look at the definition of what ballot stuffing is let’s say that our learned founder Charlie enters the polling place first. He signs in takes a ballot, fills it out and drops it in the slot. The photo electric sensor tallies one ballot. I (a ballot stuffer at large) walk in with (let’s say) a stack of five ballots. Whether I slip them in one at a time or (if Blurgle is signing in behind me and looking my way)I quickly shove the stack thru the slot I have a problem.

    The number of signatures, number of ballots and number of photo electric tallies won’t match. My feeble attempt at ballot stuffing is thwarted.

  6. Richard C says: January 29, 20081:31 pm

    It seems like, at best, this merely detects ballot stuffing, and doesn’t prevent it.

    If someone puts five ballots in at a time, only one will register. I assume that, after the polls have closed, someone will count the ballots and find that there are four more pieces of paper in the box than there should be. Now what?

    Do we throw out all the votes from that box? If that’s our policy, then people for candidate “A” could throw a close election merely by stuffing ballots in precincts where candidate “B” is particularly strong, thus invalidating a bunch of candidate “B”‘s votes. It doesn’t matter what’s written on the stuffed ballots; the object is to just get a mismatch and invalidate all the votes in that ballot box.

    A slightly smarter scheme is to assign an uncertainty to the results of that box, saying that the results are only accurate +/- the number of stuffed votes. If the total margin of victory is greater than the total uncertainty, we know who won. If the total uncertainty is greater than the margin of victory, we know enough ballots were stuffed to have potentially thrown the election, but since we don’t know who was doing the stuffing, we still don’t know which candidate would have won the race if ballots hadn’t been stuffed.

    Merely being able to detect, after the fact, that some votes were stuffed doesn’t give you enough information to determine what the fair vote totals should be.

  7. Firebrand38 says: January 31, 200811:58 am

    Unless of course this worked on a punch card system in which case it will only register the vote cast on the first card inserted. I’ve been unable to find any reference to this machine outside of this article so we can only speculate.

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