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  #1  
Old 01-21-2009, 03:19 AM
Dandmb50 Dandmb50 is offline
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Hanging chads I understand I think?

I know it's a bit late but I just watched Recount, and now understand a bit better all about the chad thing in Florida. The only thing I don't understand is 1, do they still use chads in elections? 2, Why don't they just have a sheet of paper with a check-box and you pick who you want, what a concept, I guess the only good thing is that Bush is gone forever.

Daniel ................ Toronto
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  #2  
Old 01-21-2009, 04:06 AM
BellRungBookShut-CandleSnuffed BellRungBookShut-CandleSnuffed is offline
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NH has a ballot with unconnected arrows going from the center to each candidate. You connect the arrows of the candidates you want with a big black marker. I assume they were electronically read with something like the SAT grading machines. Or at least that's how my district did it.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:20 AM
MikeS MikeS is offline
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One of the important differences between the typical U.S. election and the typical Canadian election is that the ballot is much longer and more complicated in the U.S. A ballot in a Canadian general federal election contains precisely one issue to vote on: who your Member of Parliament is going to be. Provincial and civic elections are generally not on the same day as the federal election. In contrast, your typical U.S. ballot on Election Day requires voting in at least a dozen races, if not more: President, yes, but also Governor, Senator, U.S. House Representative, State Senator, State House Representative, several judges, and on down to local positions such as school board members, water commissioner, or surveyor (depending on jurisdiction.) There can also be several referenda (usually called "propositions".)

In the Canadian system, the ballots are simple and can therefore be counted by hand quite easily. In the American system, however, the sheer number of things that every single person votes on is sufficiently large that it would be impractical to count every ballot by hand; imagine every precinct sorting a thousand paper ballots into piles of "yea", "nay", and "dunno" 20 or 30 times. Having machines that automatically tabulate all these races for you is a godsend; punch-card ballots were the first such type of system invented, though many places now use optical scanners, as B.R.B.S.C.S. described, or "electronic voting" machines, which are subject to some controversy. The main problem is, of course, that no machine can be made idiot-proof; and as every knows, an awful lot of idiots vote.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:32 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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There are several different types of ballots in the US, and they vary by state (and sometimes within the state). The main types are:

1. Optical scan. You fill in circles and a machine scans them.
2. Punch card. You punch a hole in a computer card; they are fed into computers. This is where the hanging chads are involved: if you don't punch the hole completely, the piece of paper remains attached and can cause problems in the count.
3. Computer touch screens. The wave of the future.
4. Mechanical voting machines. By far and away the best and most accurate way to count votes. They are phasing out (currently only used in New York and possibly Connecticut), a clear indication that, for all the talk of accurate voting, people aren't all that interested in it.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:57 AM
BJMoose BJMoose is offline
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As I recall, many jurisdictions quickly dumped punch cards after the 2000 debacle. But it seems a safe bet there are still a few around.

RealityChuck: While I've no doubt the old voting machines were built like brick privies, they were nevertheless machines and subject to the frailties of all things mechanical (bent rods, slipped cogs, whatever), were they not?.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:28 AM
robby robby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BJMoose View Post
As I recall, many jurisdictions quickly dumped punch cards after the 2000 debacle. But it seems a safe bet there are still a few around.

RealityChuck: While I've no doubt the old voting machines were built like brick privies, they were nevertheless machines and subject to the frailties of all things mechanical (bent rods, slipped cogs, whatever), were they not?.
Also, the count from each machine had to be manually recorded, which is subject to error or manipulation, and which cannot be re-verified at a later date.

We used them in my town here in Connecticut until last year. We now use optical scanners.
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  #7  
Old 01-21-2009, 09:56 AM
Tastes of Chocolate Tastes of Chocolate is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandmb50 View Post
2, Why don't they just have a sheet of paper with a check-box and you pick who you want, what a concept, I guess the only good thing is that Bush is gone forever.
I'm in Minnesota, where we STILL haven't declare a winner in the Senate race. We've got paper ballots. Fill in the circle next to the name you want.

Look here for examples of what can go wrong with even a simple system.
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