Votomatic Vote Recorder

The Votomatic turns a standard-size IBM data processing card into a machine-readable ballot. There are a maximum of 960 ballot positions in 12 columns across the face of the card. Each position is pre-scored so that the voter using a stylus guided by a ballot holder may push out chad, forming a hole. Candidate names are not printed on the card but rather on the pages of the ballot holder, corresponding to the positions of the inserted card. A hole constitutes a vote for the candidate or referendum issue assigned to that position.

To vote, the voter slips the ballot card into the holder and turns the pages exposing columns of ballot positions from left to right across the underlying card. When in the holder, the card is actually sandwiched between a plastic template with beveled holes to help center the stylus on the target position, and below the card, a system of slotted rubber strips through which chad are punched. Chad removed from the ballot card fall into a hollow part of the ballot holder.

After voting, the voter removes the ballot card from the ballot holder. The ballot may be tabulated with a card counter in the polling place, or collected and tabulated in a central location using card readers and attached computers. The reader senses which position on the ballot card have holes. These locations are reported to the software of the computer that summarizes the number of votes for each candidate.

Photo of Votomatic vote recorder trade lit cover

Votomatic vote recorder

Photo of Black Votomatic with light

Votomatic with light

Photo of Sample ballot card

Sample ballot card

Photo of Chicago precinct ballot counter

Chicago precinct ballot counter