November 1920 - Popular Science

From: Charlie Strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Mon Nov 01 2004 - 19:53:48 CST

The cover story from popular science--84 years ago--is the infalility
of the modern lever voting machine!

http://www.popsci.com/popsci/lookingback/article/0,20967,725372,00.html

November 1920
In the age of ballot-box stuffing, the mechanical voting machine
promised indisputably accurate election tallies. Sound familiar?

By Adam Voiland

  

November 1920
  "Plot and plan, scheme and engineer as he may, the crooked ward-heeler
cannot discover a way of cheating the machine."

  "Plot and plan, scheme and engineer as he may, the crooked ward-heeler
cannot discover a way of cheating the machine," PopSci wrote in 1920,
urging the widespread adoption of mechanized voting as an antidote to
Tammany Hall­style election fraud. The gear-and-lever voting machine
seemed to ensure a fair and scientific tally. Although it had debuted
two decades before we featured it on our cover, in 1920 it was used in
only 17 states. By the 1960s the machine predominated in U.S.
elections. But by the '80s, it had fallen from favor because of serious
shortcomings: It lacked a paper trail, had in fact proved to be
susceptible to tampering, and broke frequently. Now, as officials rush
to install electronic voting equipment for this month's presidential
election, experts warn that e-voting machines may possess the same
drawbacks as their mech-anical predecessors. "Wow," UC Berkeley
computer security an-alyst David Wagner says of PopSci's early
enthusiasm. "Replace the word 'mechanical' with 'electronic,' and we're
right back to today."

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Received on Tue Nov 30 23:17:03 2004

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