Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton.

California. Commission for examining voting machines. Report to the senate and assembly, 33rd session of the legislature online

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Online LibraryEdward Bulwer Lytton LyttonCalifornia. Commission for examining voting machines. Report to the senate and assembly, 33rd session of the legislature → online text (page 2 of 4)
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mediately protected by the sound of a bell, would in practice
become liable to abuse, as the sounding of bells for two or
more machines would in time become confusing and in such
a case a voter might purposely be permitted to repeat his
vote. No one officer could be held responsible for an excess
of votes as no one officer could be expected to operate the
lever during the entire length of an election. Furthermore,
it would be possible to manipulate the bell in the machine so
that it would strike but once, even if a privileged voter had
used a number of voting spaces.

Any device which permits a voter to repeat his vote while
in the voting booth is liable to abuse and cannot be too care-
fully guarded against. Such devices should be automatic and
not be dependent upon the honesty or watchfulness of an
election officer.

J. B. TERRIU,, Newark, Cal.

This system consists of a number of boxes enclosing
rollers upon which tally sheets are placed so as to move from
one roller to another as they are used. Above the rollers there
is a perforated sheet to correspond with the voting squares of
an Australian ballot, and above this is placed a regular Aus-
tralian ballot with strips cut out which otherwise would be
occupied by voting squares. The perforations in the lower
sheet are in juxtaposition to the names of the candidates and


blank spaces on the ticket and there are a set of rollers for
each column.

To vote, the voter opens a box and marks upon the tally
sheet through the perforation opposite the name printed upon
the ticket. To vote independently, a name has to be written
upon a special ballot and deposited in a ballot box provided
for the purpose. After marking the tally sheet the voter
closes the box and thereby moves the tally sheet a voting
space out of sight of the next voter. At the close of the polls
the tally sheets are taken from the boxes (a number of which
are used in each precinct) and the count is made directly of
the marks upon them.

To eliminate illegal votes each tally sheet would have to
be inspected and the excess of votes cancelled. Under this
system there would be no check upon a voter marking the tally
sheet and voting on the special ballot. Any possible gains
would be offset by greater disadvantages than at present

HENRY H. NIEBUR, Ferndale, Cal.

His system provides for a paper ballot, a ballot holder, a
counting machine and a ballot box; the ballot is printed in
party columns at right angles to the offices to be filled, with a
column of blank spaces in which a voter can write the name
of any person not printed on the ballot. To the right of the
name of each candidate there is a blank square in which a cross
could be stamped in case the other fixtures connected with
his system were destroyed. The ballot-holder (a number of
which can be in use at once) consists of a hinged frame, the
underside of which is perforated to correspond with the voting
squares on the ballot and the upper side is provided with re-
ceptacles to contain a single metalic ball immediately above
such perforations. One end of the ballot is affixed to a
spindle and is then placed within the ballot holder so that the
voting squares will come between the receptacles for the balls
and the perforated spaces below. For every office to be filled
there is a column of receptacles which are filled with balls.
The ballot thus placed in the ballot holder is given to a voter
who takes it to a voting booth and transfers the balls, by


means of a magnet, to such receptecles as he may desire (in
place of stamping the ballot as at present) and he can change
the balls from place to place untill he finally leaves them as he
desires, thus obviating calling for a new ballot to correct a
mistake. The ballot holder which is then covered to conceal
the acts of the voter, is handed by the voter to an officer who
places it in the Counting Machine.

This machine is arranged in compartments to hold the
balls cast for each candidate. A frame with teeth to enter
each voting receptacle in the ballot holder is mechanically
pressed down so as to force the balls in the receptacles through
the ballot into the compartments below, thus recording the
vote cast and making a hole in the ballot in place of stamping
it. The ballot is then wound up on the spindle, removed and
placed in the ballot box. At the close of the election the con-
tents of each compartment in the counting machine are sepa-
rately drawn off by the removal of a slide bottom and the con-
tents run into a scaled tube which at once shows how many
votes were cast for each candidate. The total number of balls
cast for each office plus any unused balls should equal the
number of voters taking part in the election. If by accident
or design more balls should appear, recourse would have to be
made to the ballots in the ballot box in order to detect the
source of excess. The inventor claims for his system the ad-
vantage " That his machine during an election is always in
charge and control of the Board of Election Officers the voter
not having any access or control over it, but voting as now by
an Australian ballot."

A machine constructed upon the above principles to
accommodate a fixed number of political parties could not be
used in an election, if an additional number of candidates in
excess of such provision should be nominated, and the whole
system would break down. Evil disposed persons could bring
any number of balls into the voting booth and thus destroy
the utility of the counting devices. To canvass the indepen-
dent vote, all the ballots would have to be opened and ex-
amined. Either by accident or design the operation of the
ball counting devices could be overcome and resort to canvas-
sing the ballots be necessitated. Instead of X's, as under the


present system, the holes made in the paper by the balls forced
through the ballot, would have to be inspected and counted.
The complications proposed in this system offer no advantages
over the present system.

C. L. STURGES, Escondido, Cal.

His system consists of an Australian ballot, a Counting
Machine and a Ballot Box.

To vote, a voter uses a pointed instrument with which to
puncture the ballot, instead of stamping an X. The voter
then inserts the ballot in the Counting Machine, which per-
mits metal balls to pass through the holes made in the ballot
and collects them in scaled grooves provided for the purpose.
At the close of an election the accumulated balls in each groove
disclose the vote cast for each candidate.

The Counting Machine counts for all holes made in the
ballot, so that if a voter should make two or more holes for,
say, a Mayor, all would be counted. As a consequence, all
the ballots would have to be taken from the ballot box in
which they have been deposited after passing through the
Counting Machine and be canvassed for the independent vote
and for the purpose of eliminating illegal votes.

The system differs from the present, in substituting holes
for X's and the trouble of passing the ballots through a Count-
ing Machine without accomplishing a correct count.


McTamany Patent,


This system comprises a Voting Machine proper, a
Counting Machine and a Ballot-box, and affords a voter the
option of voting entirely by machine or by ballot. The
Machine, which is arranged for party columns, does not limit
the number of candidates for whom a voter can vote, as he
can vote upon it for every candidate nominated, but makes it
impossible to vote for the same candidate more than once.
The Counting Machine is depended upon to cancel the votes


cast in excess. For example : If a voter should vote for two
or more candidates for Maj'or none of the votes would count.
In case a voter desires to vote indepe ndently for any one he
has to vote by ballot for all candidates for whom he desires to
vote. The results of the two systems are added together and
the total vote for each candidate obtained.

The Voting Machine is operated by push buttons which
cut holea in a paper strung between rollers, which moves a
given distance for each voter. In case of possession of the
poll list and the punched paper, the act of each voter can be
determined. The Voting Machine is mechanically well con-
structed and simple in operation. The Counting Machine is
very complicated and delicate, and would require a watch-
maker's skill to repair.

Under the above system, unless the present ballot system
was also maintained, the door would be opened to place
prepared ballots in the hands of voters which could afterwards
be identified, and the voters would also be obliged to cast
their votes under more burdensome conditions than those
using the machines. As a consequence, the cost of the
machines and their operation would have to be added to the
present expenses incident to an election.

Christ Christensen, Patent No. 534,494.

This machine is operated by turning the exposed end of
a screwrod upon which a nut with an index point moves one
thread for each complete revolution, and indicates upon an
accompanying scale the number of votes given to each candi-
date. A rod with gravity sliding blocks limits the time a
voter can vote for a single or co-ordinate office, and as the
voter leaves the booth these blocks fall together and leave no
clue as to how the voter exercised his choice. The act of
leaving the booth also completes the revolution of all the
screwrods which a voter has partially turned. The voter is
thus afforded an opportunity of changing or correcting his
votes until he has left the booth.


For each office or group of offices an attachment for
independent voting by ballot is provided, which, if used,
prevents the voter from operating any rods for the regularly
nominated candidates for that office. Where co-ordinate
offices are to be filled, this arrangement necessitates the
writing the names of regularly nominated candidates for
whom the voter may desire to vote as well as those not nomi-
nated all on one ballot in order to avoid cumulative voting.
Such a ballot could readily be identified by an agreed name
written upon it and would facilitate fraud in the purchase of
votes. As each voter would be entitled to a ballot, however
provided or regulated, it can be readily seen that such a
ballot could be taken unused from the voting booth and
prepared on the outside and given to a subsequent voter, and
thus an endless chain of corrupt votes could be controlled.

To the record of the vote shown by the nuts, the count
of the ballot would have to be added before the total vote for
each candidate could be known.

By coupling machines together any number of offices and
candidates can be provided for, but in case of an excessive
number of candidates for a co-ordinate office, such as the
election of 18 Supervisors in San Francisco (which might
result in over 100 candidates being nominated) a special
machine to be used horizontally and provided with slide blocks
operated otherwise than by gravity would have to be con-
structed, as a perpendicular machine controlled by gravity
slide blocks would be too high for practical use?

The machine exhibited is mechanically well constructed,
simple in design, and difficult, if not impossible, to get out of


Franklin Grove, Illinois.

This system consists of a box enclosing a nest of vertical
tubes, so arranged as to receive metal discs dropped into them.
Above the tubes is a metal plate in which slots are cut,
through which such discs can pass. A second plate composed
of metal strips with corresponding slots in them, rests upon
the bottom plate, so that the slots in both will admit of a disc


falling through them into the tubes when all are brought
together. The slots are so arranged that candidates can be
grouped with party columns at right angles to the offices to
be filled, and the box can be constructed to accommodate any
reasonable number of candidates for an office. The names of
candidates need not necessarily appear in party columns.

In voting, a voter opens the cover to the box and places
a disc in a slot opposite the printed name of the candidate for
whom he desires to vote, and in so doing forces the metal
strip sideways into such a position that a second disc cannot
be placed in any other slot in the same strip. The disc, how-
ever, can be withdrawn and placed in any slot in the strip as
long as the box remains open.

To vote independently, there is a lid in each metal strip
which can be raised provided the voter has not deposited a
disc in the same strip, exposing a paper roll upon which he
can write the name of a person for whom he desires to vote.
The raising of the lid moves the metal strip in the same man-
ner as placing a disc, but a lid once raised the metal strip
cannot be again moved so that a voter can place a disc in a
slot. All the names written by one voter appear in line and
cumulative voting can thus be detected if practiced.

The voter having arranged the discs for the candidates
for whom he desires to vote, the lid to the box is closed and
a crank is actuated which carries both the metal strips and
bottom plate into line over the mouth of the tubes so as to
drop the discs into them. A continuation of the movement
restores the sliding strips to their normal position, moves the
independent roll one voting space, if it has been used, and
closes the raised lids so as to obliterate all traces of the acts
of the voter.

At the commencement of an election a flat metal rod is
inserted into each tube so as to demonstrate that all are
equally empty, and at the close of the election the same
process is repeated and the votes cast for each candidate are
disclosed by the depth to which the scaled rod will descend.

In case of co-ordinate officers to be elected at large, it


would be impossible to vote for more than one candidate
appearing upon the same strip. To overcome this defect it is
proposed to allow the voter to write upon the independent roll
the name of a candidate whose name appears printed upon the
strip, for whom he cannot insert a disc. This method, how-
ever, would also make it possible for a voter to vote for the
same candidate twice; i. e., once by disc and once on the roll.

Unless these difficulties can be overcome this device
would be practically useless.

The mechanism used in this device is very simple and
positive and only a tension spring to control the paper roll is
used. The cost of construction would consequently be

The use of discs preserves in a concrete form the record
of each vote cast. In case of dispute the box can be brought
into Court for examination and the discs cast for each candi-
date be either measured, counted or weighed. In this respect
the system differs from those employing registering wheels,
where the count is abstracted in the position of the wheels
and the individual acts of the voters are obliterated so as not
to be subject to review.

F. X. ST. LOUIS, Elk Creek, California,

His machine is arranged so as to receive a lineal ballot.
Opposite the name of each candidate there is a sliding key,
in one end of which is a receptacle for a disc. To vote, a
disc with a hole in its center is inserted in the above men-
tioned receptacle and the key moved forward so as to draw
the disc under a plate and over a vertical rod upon which it
drops. A sliding device prevents two or more keys being
moved forward at the same time. Teethed wheels in which
stops are placed, limit the number of times a voter can vote
for either single or co-ordinate offices. A lever controlled by
a turn -stile or the officers of an election board, releases the
used keys after each voter has occupied the voting booth. The
machine can be adjusted to meet the conditions of succeeding
elections and can be made to accommodate any number of
candidates. To vote independently, one key is reserved in


each group of single and co-ordinate offices. For this purpose
discs upon which a name can be written are furnished the
voters. So far as single offices are concerned this method
could be adopted, but for co-ordinate offices various complica-
tions arise. Kxcept by experts in hand-writing, no one could
tell whether eighteen voters had each voted once for one
supervisor or one voter had voted eighteen times for the same
person. A machine which might accommodate all the inde-
pendent votes for mayor, might prove incapable of holding all
the independent votes for eighteen supervisors to be elected at
large, as all would have to be dropped on one rod. If eigh-
teen rods were provided for voting for independent candidates
for supervisors, cumulative voting might be practiced without

At the close of an election the rods are exposed with the
discs which have been dropped upon them and a scale dis-
closes the number of votes which each candidate has received.
The independent vote has to be canvassed separately.

So far as the principles involved in this system for voting
for regularly nominated candidates are concerned, they could
be carried out with mechanical accuracy. A voter can see
that his disc drops upon the rod in line with the candidate for
whom he is voting, and before moving the sliding key, he can
change or correct his vote.

HENRY WEBER. Patent No. 531,818.
Temescal, California.

This Voting Machine is designed to receive a lineal
ballot. Opposite the names and blank spaces are receptacles
in which discs can be placed for those candidates who are
selected by a voter. Such discs can be re-arranged until the
voter has prepared his vote to his satisfaction. Slide-blocks
limit the number of times a voter can vote for single or co-
ordinate offices and these can be adjusted to meet the require-
ment of succeeding elections.

To vote independently, the voter is permitted- ta write a
name upon a disc. For the purpose of casting his vote, the
voter removes a block which operates to cover the receptacles


for discs and permits those in position to fall into scaled

Until the machine is adjusted to receive another voter, no
more votes can he cast. At the close of an election the num-
ber of discs in each tube discloses the number of votes cast
for each candidate.

Counting by this device could be accomplished with cer-
tainty. The arrangement for independent voting is defective
as cumulative voting could be practiced and escape detection.
The position of the slideblocks, as left by each voter, would
indicate how such votes had been cast.

S. A. CUMRINK, Los Angeles, California.

This system consists of a line of voting keys set opposite
the names of candidates. To vote, a voter turns a key a
quarter turn, which actuates a toothed disc one tooth and
cannot be further moved until a releasing bar in charge of
the Election Board prepares the way for a subsequent voter.
In case of single offices the movement of one key locks all the
others for the same office, but for co-ordinate offices where,
say, two out of four candidates are to be elected, each voter
could vote all the four keys unless prevented by the Election
Board, who would have to keep tally by ear as each key was
operated. The system contemplates separate machines for
each office or group of offices to be filled. For independent
voting, keys in excess of those to be used for regularly nom-
inated candidates are provided with a blank space opposite
in which a voter can write the name of a person for whom he
desires to vote. In practice, three candidates for mayor might
be regularly nominated and keys provided for them, but to
accommodate a possible independent vote, ten, twenty, fifty
or more keys and blank spaces would have to be provided, as
no one could determine in advance how many independent
votes might be cast.

At the commencement of an election all the discs should
be found at zero, and at its close the number of votes cast for
each candidate could be read off without difficulty.



Gillespie Patent.

New York.

This machine is arranged with eight perpendicular party
columns and a column for independent voting, at right angles
to the offices to be filled. In addition there are placed at the
foot of the machines eight spaces for the submission of ques-
tions, constitutional amendments, etc., for which a key can
be placed in position to vote yes or no. A system of inter-
locking wedges limits the times a voter can vote for a single
or co-ordinate office, and the machine can be adjusted to
meet the conditions of succeeding elections to the extent of a
full list of nominations by eight parties. The mechanical
principles involved in the interlocking system do not advan-
tageously permit of an increase in the party columns, but the
number of offices to be filled can be increased in the construc-
tion of the machine to meet the requirements of any election.
A perpendicular paper roll to the right of the party column
affords an opportunity to write a name not printed in the
party column, by moving a slide over the paper, but a slide
once opened prevents a voter moving any of the voting keys
in the same line. As the perpendicular roll moves forward
but once for each voter using it, any attempt at cumulative
voting can be detected.

The machine permits of the grouping of eighteen super-
visors to be elected at large and can, therefore, accommodate
the names of 144 candidates and eighteen spaces in which the
names of those not nominated can be written. The inter-
locking system and a special device will prevent a voter plac-
ing more than eighteen keys in position for voting. The
voter can select his candidates at will, unless he chooses to
vote for a line of candidates running across the bottom of the
group so as to vote for several from each political party. In
this case the angles of the interlocking wedges do not permit
all the keys being placed in position for voting, and also pre-
vent a free choice of candidates above the bottom line. if
certain keys were used it would be impossible to vote for a
certain 79 out of the 144 candidates. To the left of the
names of the various candidates is a column of voting keys,
which in the act of arranging his ticket, a voter moves at an


angle 'over the name of the candidate of his choice. All the
keys in one column can be moved into position by the use of
a lever at the top, but after using such lever, if a voter
desires to split his ticket he can move back any or all of the
keys singly and move a key in any other column over the
name he wishes to vote for or vote on the independent

Upon entering the voting stand the voter moves a lever
from left to right, which carries a curtain in a semi-circle in
front of the machine and encloses him in the booth. He can
then arrange and re-arrange in secret the voting keys for the
candidates of his choice, which being accomplished, he
returns the curtain lever to its original position and in so
doing registers his vote, and the movement of the leve r
restores the voting keys to their normal position and closes
the slides over the independent voting roll. When not in
possession of a voter, the face of the machine is exposed to
view of all present and any tampering with it can be readily
preceived and the blame be promptly placed. At the com-
mencement of an election the registers in the back of the
machine are exposed for inspection and all should be found
at zero. The rear doors are then locked and cannot be
opened while the voting keys can be moved. At the close of
the election the voting keys are locked, the rear doors opened
and the registers show the number of votes cast for each
candidate. The independent roll has to be canvassed sepa-

The use of voting levers (which can either be retained or
discarded) at the top of each party column expedites voting
without limiting the number of offices for which a voter can
vote, nor confining his choice to party candidates, and would
enable a greater number of voters to use a machine in an
election than if each voting key had to be separately placed
in position. The question naturally arises whether the use of
such levers would conflict with the decision of the Supreme
Court in Eaton vs. Brown.

The printing of the names of regularly nominated candi-
dates upon the ballot, as now provided by law, saves time and
effort and enables the class of voters who place an X opposite


such printed names an advantage over those who are obliged

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Online LibraryEdward Bulwer Lytton LyttonCalifornia. Commission for examining voting machines. Report to the senate and assembly, 33rd session of the legislature → online text (page 2 of 4)