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Publication numberUS3073445 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 15, 1963
Filing dateDec 17, 1959
Publication numberUS 3073445 A, US 3073445A, US-A-3073445, US3073445 A, US3073445A
InventorsWill.iam >J- Molt
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Voting ballot handling machine
US 3073445 A
Images(3)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 15, 1963 w. .J. HOLT, JR., ET AL 3,073,445

VOTING BALLOT HANDLING MACHINE 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Dec. 17, 1959 HOLT-Tn INVENTORS WILL/4M \T.

United States Patent 3,073,445 VOTING BALLOT HANDLING MACHINE William J. Holt, Jr., Pacific Palisades, and Michael V.

Braine, Malibu, Calif., assignors, by mesue assignments, to United Aircraft Corporation, East Hartford,

Conn., a corporation of Delaware Filed Dec. 17, 1959, Ser. No. 860,277 14 Claims. (Cl. 209-74) Our invention relates to a voting ballot handling machine and more particularly to an automatic voting ballot handling machine which rapidly and expeditiously sepa- Irates ballots of a supply of unsorted ballots.

Machines are known in the prior art for totaling the number of ballots fed to the machine. Some of these machines of the prior art count only acceptable ballots and do not count rejected ballots. These machines, however, include no provision for separating acceptable ballots from rejected ballots but merely eject all ballots to a common stack. It is desirable that acceptable ballots be separated from rejected ballots at a counting center where votes are tabulated. In order that this be accomplished, .it is required that the ballots be accurately aligned with the machine if acceptable ballots are to be properly sensed to accomplish the sorting operation. It is further desirable that the counting and separation of ballots be accomplished in as rapid and as expeditious a manner as is possible. It will be obvious that hand feeding of ballots to a sensing means with the ballots correctly aligned to permit the sensing means to function properly would require an inordinate amount of time. would represent very little advance over a visual counting and separating the ballots.

We have invented an automatic voting ballot handling machine which rapidly and expeditiously separates acceptable ballots from rejected ballots. Our machine is provided with a very simple means for ensuring that the ballots to be separated are accurately aligned with the sensing means of the machine. Our machine accomplishes this result while at the same time operating at a relatively high speed. Our machine may be modified to count ballots of various sizes. It keeps the ballot under control at all times. It ejects ballots which may become folded or torn to prevent jamming of the machine.

One object of our invention is to provide a voting ballot handling machine which rapidly and expeditiously separates acceptable ballots from rejected ballots.

Another object of our invention is to provide a voting ballot handling machine which is simple in construction for the results produced by the machine.

A further object of our invention is to provide a voting ballot handling machine which is not likely to jam.

A still further object of our invention is to provide a voting ballot handling machine which is adapted to handle a number of different sizes of ballots.

Other and further objects of our invention will appear from the following description.

In general our invention contemplates the provision of a voting ballot handling machine including a continuously rotating evacuated drum adapted to pick a number of ballots in sequence from a supply of ballots held in alignment on a supply rack adjacent the rotating drum. As the drum rotates, it carries the ballots in sequence past a reading station, an acceptable ballot take-off station, and a rejected ballot take-off station. In the event that a ballot is an acceptable one, the reading heads produce signals which actuate the acceptable ballot take-off means to remove the ballot from the drum and to feed the ballot Such a system ice to an acceptable ballot tray. 'If the ballot is a rejectedballot, the acceptable ballot take-oft means is not operated,

but the ballot is carried past the acceptable ballot takeoff station to the rejected ballot take-off means which removes the ballot from the drum and feeds the ballot to a rejected ballot tray. 'We provide our machine with means for ensuring that any ballot picked up by the drum is stripped from the drum whether or not the take-off means operate effectively. We provide our machine with means for sensing the presence of a supply of ballots to be separated.

In the accompanying drawings which form part of the instant specification and which are to be read in conjunction therewith and in which like reference numerals are used 'to indicate like parts in the various views: 7

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of our voting ballot handling machine with parts removed and with other parts shown in section illustrating the components of our voting ballot handling machine. I k

FIGURE 2 is a schematic view of one form of driving arrangement which may be used to drive the various ele ments of our machine. I

FIGURE 3 is a schematic view of one form of electrical circuit which may be used to control the operation of our voting ballot handling machine. 7 H

Referring now more particularly to FIGURE 1 of the drawings, our machine includes a frame, indicated generally by the reference character 10. We rotatably mount the hollow shaft 12 of an evacuated drum, indicated generally by the reference character 14, on the frame 10 by any suitable means such as bearings 16 and 18. A shaft 20 supported on extensions 22 on the frame 10 pivotally carries a frame including a pair of brackets 24, one of which is shown in FIGURE 1. Brackets 24 support rods 26 which extend through openings in supports 28 carried by the base 30 of a ballot support 32. We mount respective cylinders 34 carrying pistons 36 on the brackets 24. We connect the rods 38 of pistons 36 to the base 30. Springs 40 disposed within the cylinders 34 normally urge pistons 36 to the right, as viewed in FIGURE 1, to urge the ballot support 32 to move to the right as viewed in the figure along the rods 26.

Respective pistons 42, one of which is 'shown in FIG- URE 1, have rods 44 pivotally connected to pins 46 on the frame brackets 24. We provide springs 48 disposed within cylinders 50 associated with pistons 42 'for normally urging the pistons downwardly and to the right, as viewed in FIGURE 1. W pivotally mount the cylinders 50 on the frame 10. From the structure just described it will be seen that springs 48 act on the pistons 42 normally to urge the support 32 to an erect position. Springs '40 normally urge the erected support 32 to the right, as viewed in FIGURE 1.

We provide the support 32 with spaced pins 52 for receiving a stack of ballots 54. When the support is to be loaded with a stack of ballots 54, it is swung about its shaft 20 in the direction of the arrow A in FIGURE I against the action of springs 48 to a position past dead center at which the support 32 rests substantially in a horizontal plane. We provide each ballot 54 with a pair of spaced holes 56 having slits or slots 58 leading into the holes from the edge of the ballot. With the holes of a stack of ballots aligned, the ballots may be slid onto the pins by means of holes 56. The slots 58 permit individual ballots to be withdrawn from the stack without the danger of tearing the ballots.

The frame 10 supports an evacuated housing 60 forming a chamber 62 which is connected by a pipe 64 to a suitable source of reduced pressure to be described hereinafter. Housing 60 includes a flat plate 66 provided with a plurality of holes 68.

After the ballot carrier 32 has been loaded with a supply of ballots 54, it is moved to its erect position in which it is held by the action of springs 48. Springs 40 urge the carrier 32 and its stack of ballots 54 against the plate 66 of the housing 60. Atmospheric pressure acting against the reduced pressure with the housing 60 serves to hold the individual ballots firmly against the exterior surface of the perforated plate 66 in a position at which they may be picked up by the drum 14 in a manner to be described.

We provide the drum 14 with a number of ballot pickup valve assemblies indicated generally by the respective reference characters 70, 72, 74, and 76. Each of these assemblies includes a plurality of shutter valves 78 aligned in a row across the interior of the drum. Each valve 78 includes a solenoid 80 adapted to be energized to open the valve to permit communication between the interior of the drum and an opening 82 formed in the skin of the .drum. We may provide as many valves 78 in each assembly as are required for proper operation of the machine. The number of active valves 78 in the units may be varied in a manner to be described hereinafter to permit our machine to accommodate ballots of various sizes. We provide the surface of drum 14 with shallow peripheral grooves 15 to permit the vacuum to operate without binding in holding a ballot against the drum surface.

, As one of the units or assemblies 70, 72, 74, and 76 approaches the ballot carrier 32, its valves are opened to cause the top ballot 54 of the stack on the carrier to be pulled oif the carrier and carried along with the drum. After a ballot has thus been picked up, it moves along with the drum toward a synchronous roller and belt assembly, indicated generally by the reference character 84. .The assembly 84 includes respective rolls 86, 88, and 90 having shafts 92, 94, and 96 rotatably supported on the frame in suitable bearings (not shown). The rolls 86, 88, and 90 carry a plurality of spaced belts 98 in engagement with the surface of drum 14. These belts 98 engage the ballot as it is carried by the assembly 84 by the drum 14 to hold it firmly against the drum and to prevent it from becoming folded, crumpled, or torn as it is carried along with the drum. We mount scanning devices 100 and 101 on the frame 10 in the space enclosed by belts 98 adjacent the surface of the drum 14. The scanner 100 may, for example, be a photoelectric scanner of a type known to the art to which light, emanating from .a source 109 is reflected by a ballot printed with suitable light and dark areas. Alternatively it could be a mag- "netic pickup or the like actuated by suitable magnetic in- .dicia recorded on an acceptable ballot passing by the head. Preferably this scanner actuates a counter 103 to provide a count of the number of acceptable ballots passing by head 100. The scanner 101 may be of any suitable type known to the art which is actuated each time a ballot passes by. Scanner 101 operates a counter 105 for deter- ;mining the total number of ballots passing through the machine.

As the drum 14 rotates after a ballot has been moved past the assembly 84, it approaches the acceptable ballot take-off unit indicated generally by the reference character 102. The unit 102 includes an acceptable ballot take-off drum 104 having a hollow shaft 107 connected to a source of reduced pressure to be described hereinafter. We employ any suitable bearings 108 for rotatably supporting the drum 104 on the frame 10. A plurality of belts 106 carried by the drum 104 and by a roll ,1-10, rotatably supported by the frame 10, frictionally engage the drum surface. A roll 112 provides the required tension for the belts 106.

We provide drum 104 with a plurality of ports 114 which are under the control of a solenoid-operated shut- 4 ter valve 116, the solenoid 118 of which is adapted to be energized to open the ports 114.

Owing to the fact that in the particular form of our invention shown, the drum 14 includes four pick-off valve assemblies 70, 72, 74, and 76, the take-off unit 102 is required to operate four times for each revolution of the drum 14. In order that the drum 104 will make four revolutions for each single revolution of the drum 14, we provide drum 104 with a diameter which is equal to one quarter of the diameter of drum 14. Thus owing to the friction drive provided by belts 106 between drum 14 and drum 104, the latter drum makes four revolutions in the course of a single revolution of drum 14.

In the event that an acceptable ballot causes the reading heads to produce an electrical signal, as the unit carrying the ballot arrives at the acceptable ballot take-off station, its valve solenoids 80 are de-energized and solenoid 118 is energized to open ports 114 to cause the acceptable ballot take-off drum 104 to remove the ballot from the drum 114. As this acceptable ballot is carried around with drum 104, it enters a low speed belt system indicated generally by the reference character 120.

The system 126 includes a plurality of belts 122 carried by respective rolls 124, 126, and 128 rotatably supported in the machine frame. We provide means to be described hereinafter for driving the shaft 130 at a speed which produces a linear speed of belts 122 which is considerably lower than the linear speed of belts 106. The system 120 includes a second plurality of belts 132 supported by rolls 134, 1 36, and 138 rotatably carried by the frame 10. From the arrangement shown it can be seen that an acceptable ballot carried away from drum 14 by the drum 104 passes between the belts 122 and 132, around roll 124 and around roll 138 to the undersides of belts 132. We mount a thin, vacuum housing 140 adjacent to and over the lower portions of belts 132 as shown in FiGURE 1. This housing 140 is normally connected by a pipe 142 to a source of reduced pressure to be described hereinafter to hold the acceptable ballots against the undersides of belts 132 until the last acceptable ballot of a stack has been separated in a manner to be described. When this occurs, the ballots are released to permit them to fall to an acceptable ballot tray 144 disposed below the belts 132 on the frame 10.

In the event that a ballot carried by a unit of the drum 14 past the heads 100 is not an acceptable ballot, then the heads 100 do not produce the accept output signal and the valves 78 of the unit do not close as the unit approaches the acceptable ballot take-off unit 102. Neither is the solenoid 118 of the drum 104 energized. Thus the rejected ballot is carried along by the drum 14 until it enters the rejected ballot take-0E unit indicated generally by the reference character 146. The unit 146 includes an evacuated drum 148, the hollow shaft 150 of which is connected to the source of reduced pressure to be de scribed hereinafter. Suitable bearings 152 rotatably support shaft 150 on the frame 10. We provide the skin of drum 148 with a plurality of spaced vacuum ports 154 adapted to be connected to the interior of the drum through a valve 156 operated by a solenoid 158. The drum 148 together with a roll 160 supported by frame 10 carries a plurality of belts 162 which frictionally engage drum 14. Since in the particular form of our invention shown the drum 148 like the drum 104 must operate four times during each revolution of drum 14, we provide drum 148 with a diameter which is one-quarter the diameter of drum 14. Thus under the action of the friction drive between drum 14 and belts 162, drum 148 rotates at four times the speed of rotation of drum 14.

As a rejected ballot is carried by the drum 14 into the reject take-off system 146, the valves 78 of the pick-off assembly carrying the ballot close to permit the belts 162 to carry the ballot to the drum 148. The valve 156 of the drum 148 is opened in a manner to be described to cause the drum 148 to pick the ballot from the drum and.

carry it toward a slow speed belt system indicated generally by the reference character 164. The system 164 includes a plurality of belts 166 supported on rolls 168, 170, 172, and 174 supported on the frame 10. We provide means to be described hereinafter for driving the shaft 176 of roll 174 at a speed which produces a linear speed of belts 166 which is less than the linear speed of belts 162. The system 164 includes a second plurality of belts 178 carried by rolls 180, 182, and 184 rotatably supported in the frame 10. After approximately half a revolution of the drum 148 which has picked up a rejected ballot from. the drum '14, the valve 156 is permitted to close and the ballot passes between belts 166 and 178. These belts carry the ballot around roll 170 and around roll 184 to the undersides of belts 178, as viewed in FIG- URE 1. We mount a thin evacuated housing 186 over the lower portions of belts 178. Housing 186, like the housing 140, includes a perforated plate 188 immediately over the lower portions of belts 178. A pipe 190 normally connects the interior chamber of housing 186 to a source of reduced pressure in a manner to be described hereinafter to cause the ballots to be held up against the undersides of the lower portions of belts 178. The dimensions of housing 186 are such that ballots are held until their leading edges are adjacent to the front of a tray 1-92 disposed below the belts. Thus rejected ballots are neatly stacked in the tray.

We provide our machine with a plurality of thin spaced belts 194 which ride in grooves 196 in the surface of drum 14. A roll 198 rotatably supported in extensions 200* on frame gmides the belts 194 away from the surface of the drum 14 at the rejected ballot removal station to ensure that any ballot fed into the machine is carried away from the drum whether or not the drum take-ofi means operates properly. In this manner we prevent folded or torn ballots from jamming our machine.

Referring now to FIGURE 2, we provide a motor 202 having a shaft 204 for driving a sprocket wheel 206. A chain 208 connects the sprocket wheel 206 to a sprocket wheel 210 on shaft 12 to rotate drum 14. This action also ensures the rotation of drums 104 and 148 through the friction drives described hereinabove. Conveniently, motor 202 drives a second sprocket wheel 212 conlnected by a pitch chain 214 to a sprocket wheel 216 carried by shaft 130 for rotation with the shaft. A pitch chain 218 connects a sprocket wheel 220 on shaft 130 to sprocket wheel 222 carried by shaft 176 for rotation with the shaft. We construct sprocket wheels 212 and 216 with diameters such that the slow speed belt systems 120 and 164 move at a relatively lower linear speed than .do belts. 106 and 162. It will be appreciated that, if desired, we could employ separate drive motors for the sloW speed belt systems. 7 Any suitable means such as a pump 224 driven by a linkage 226 from a'motor 228 provides the source of "reduced pressure of our system. In operation of motor "228 it reduces the pressure within a manifold 230 to below the ambient pressure at the machine location. Any convenient means such as a rotary joint 232, for example, connects the hollow shaft 12 of drum 14 to a pipe 234 connected to manifold 230. A similar joint 236 connects'hollow shaft 106'to a pipe 238 leading to the manifold. A joint 240 connects hollow shaft 150 to a pipe 242 leading to manifold 230. Respective valves 244 and '248 connect the housings 140 and 186 to the manifold.

'of motor 202, the other terminal of which we connect to ground. We connect a holding relay winding 254 in parallel with motor 202. When push button switch 250 1is..operated, motor .202 starts and winding 254 is energized. We connect a normally closed stop push button switch 256 and a normally open switch 258 associated with winding 254 in series across button 250. When winding 254 is energized in the manner described hereinabove, it operates a linkage 260 to close switch 258 to provide a holding circuit for motor 202 through the stop button 256. This circuit can be broken by actuation of the stop button 256.

Our control circuit includes a normally energized conductor 262. We provide our system with means for energizing the conductor 262 as long as a supply of ballots 254 is on the carrier 32. A suitable source of energy such as a lamp 264 or the like is connected between terminal 252 and ground. We connect a suitable sensing device such as a photoelectric cell 266 in series with a relay winding 268 between terminal 252 and ground. The relative disposition of the source 264 and the detector 266 is such that with a supply of ballots on carrier 32, the top ballot reflects suflicient light to energize the phooelectric cell 266 to complete the circuit of Winding 268 to close a normally open switch 270 by means of a linkage 272 to energize conductor 262.

We connect solenoid windings a of the valve unit 70 in parallel between a conductor 272 and a commutator segment 274 carried by shaft 12 for rotation therewith. We connect the solenoid windings 80b in parallel between conductor 272 and a commutator seg ment 276 carried by shaft 12 for rotation therewith. We connect the group of solenoid windings 80c of the unit 74 in parallel between conductor 272 and a commutator segment 278 on shaft 12. We connect the solenoid windings 80d of the unit 76 in parallel between conductor 272 and a commutator segment 280 on shaft 12. We mount a slip ring 282 on shaft 12 for rotation therewith. Respective brushes 284, 286, 288, 290, and 292 carried by a brush support 293 on the frame 10 engage the respective commutator segments 274, 276, 278, and 280 and the slip ring 282. We connect respective normally closed switches 294, 296, 298, and 300 between brushes 284, 286, 288, and 290 and the common conductor 262. A conductor 302 connects the brush 292 associated with slip ring 282 to ground.

From-the structure just described it will be seen that in the normal condition of our control circuit with a brush in engagement with its associated commutator segment the corresponding solenoid windings are energized. For example, with brush 284 in engagement with segment 274, the circuits of windings 80a are complete from terminal 252 through the holding circuit including switch 256 and switch 258, through switch 270 and conductor 262, through switch 294 and brush 284 to segment '274 and from segment 274 through windings 88a, slip ring 282, brush 292, and conductor 302 to ground. a We provide our control circuit with respective-holding windings 304, 306, 308, and 310 connected respectively in parallel with the switches 294, 296, 298, and 300. It will be appreciated that in the normal condition of the switches they short'their associated holding windings with the result that the holding windings do not carry sufficient current to open the switches. We connect actu ating windings 312, 314, 316, and 318 associated with the respective switches 294, 296, 298, and 300 between a common conductor 302 and respective segments 320, 322, 324, and 326 of a valve row selector switch indicated generally by the reference character 328. Switch 328 includes a conducting ring 330 and a contact arm 332 carried by shaft 12 for rotation with the shaft. As shaft 12 rotates, arm 332 successively connects the segments 320, 32 2, 3 24, and 326 to the ring 330. We connect a gating circuit 334 adapted to be enabled in response to the production of an accept signal by the reading head between conductor 262 and a conductor 336 connected to ring 330. A delay circuit 338 connects the. gating circuit 334 to one terminal of a relay winding 340 connected to a commutator brush 342 of the acceptable a ballot take-off drum 104. Shaft 106 carries for rotation therewith a segment 344 adapted to be engaged by brush 342. We connect the solenoid winding 118 between segment 344 and a slip ring 346 carried by shaft 106 for rotation with the shaft. A brush 348 associated with ring 346 connects the ring to ground. When winding 340 is energized in a manner to be described hereinafter, it closes a normally open switch 350 to complete a holding circuit for winding 340 througha conductor 352 connected to conductor 262.

Shaft 150 of the rejected ballot take-off drum 148 carries for rotation therewith a commutator; segment 354 adapted to be engaged by abrush 356 connected to conductor 352. We connect the solenoid winding 158 between segment 354 and a slip ring 358 carried by shaft 150 for rotation therewith. A brush 360 engages ring 358 to connect the ring to ground.

Referring again to FIGURE 1, a light source 362 produces a beam of light directed toward a photoelectric cell 364. Acceptable ballots being fed to the tray 144 normally interrupt the beam from source 362. With this beam interrupted the valve 244 is open to connect hOUS? ing 140 to manifold 230. Whenthe trailing edge of the last acceptable ballot passes by the beam, this beam is reestablished to energize-the cell 364 to permit valve 244 to close in any suitable manner known to the art.

'A light source 366 disposed over the housing 186 directs a beam of light toward a photoelectric cell 368 which controls valve 248 through any convenient means known to the art. Rejected ballots being fed to the tray 192 normally interrupt this beam with the result that valve 248 is open to connect housing 186 to the manifold 230. As the trailing edge of the last rejected ballot passes by the beam, this beam is reestablished and valve 248 closes to permit the last ballot to drop into the tray.

In operation of our voting ballot handling machine, carrier 32 is first moved in the direction of the arrow A in FIGURE 1 against the action of springs 48 to a substantially horizontal position. A stack of ballots 54 with their holes 56 aligned are placed on the pins 52. It will be seen that owing to the disposition of pins 52, a stack of ballots 54 can be placed on carrier 32 only in the correct manner. When a stack of ballots has thus been placed on the carrier, it is moved to its erect position and springs 40 push the ballots up against the surface of plate 66. Atmospheric pressure acting against the reduced pressure within the chamber 62 holds the top ballot in engagement with the surface of the drum 14. As the carrier 32 is moved into its upright position, winding 258 is energized to close switch 270. When this has been done, button 250 is operated to complete the circuit of motor 202 and holding winding 254 to connect terminal 252 to conductor 262.

Assuming that the assembly 70 is approaching the ballot pickup station, for example, its segment 274 engages the brush 284 to complete the circuits of the solenoid wind ings 80a to open the ports 82a to cause the unit to draw the top ballot off the stack. Slots 58 permit this action without the danger of tearing the ballot. As the ballot which has been picked up by the unit 70 passes through the holding belt system 84, the reading heads 100 scan the ballot to produce an accept signal in the event that the ballot is acceptable. Assuming that the ballot is acceptable, gating circuit 334 is open to connect ring 330 to the terminal 252. At the same time the switch arm 332 carried by shaft 12 connects segment 320 to ring 330. Thus a circuit is complete for winding 312 from terminal 252 through circuit 334, through ring 330 and arm 332 to segment 320 and through winding 312 to ground. Momentary energization of winding 312 in this manner opens the normally closed switch 294 to interrupt the circuit of windings 80a to permit the associated valves to close. When this occurs, winding 304 is no longer shorted and sufficient current flows through this winding to hold switch 294open as long as brush 284 engages segment 8. 274. This holding current flowing through winding 304 is not, however, suflicient to energize windings 80a.

After a delay which is the equivalent of about 45 of further rotation of drum 14, the delay network 338 connects the enabled gating circuit 334 to winding 340 to energize this winding. When winding 340 is energized, it closes switch 350 to complete its own holding circuit. The relative disposition of segment 344 with respect to the main drum segments and the relative speed of drum 104 with respect to drum 14 are suchthat as the acceptable ballot, which has'been released by the main drum valve unit '70, arrives at drum 104, segment 344 engages brush 342 and the circuit of winding 118 is energized to open the acceptable ballot drum ports 114. This drum then picks the ballot off the main drum and feeds it between the belts 1'22 and 132. This slow belt system operates at such a speed that successive acceptable ballots overlap each other with their leading edges separated by a predetermined distance. It will be noted that as the leading edge of a ballot from drum 104 enters between belts 122 and 132, its trailing edge falls away from the drum. Thus the leading edge of the next. ballot is fed to the slow ballot system over the preceding acceptable ballot. These acceptable ballots interrupt the beam from source 362 to cause housing 140 to be connected to the manifold 230., Thus the leading edges of the ballots are held to the undersides of belts 132 until they are adjacent to the end of tray 144. In this manner acceptable ballots are neatly stacked in the tray. When the trailing edge of the last ballot passes the beam, valve 244 closes and the last ballot is dropped into the tray.

In the event that the ballot carried by the unit is unacceptable, the reading heads 100 produce no accep signal and gating circuit 334 remains disabled. As a result, the windings a remain energized until segment 274 leaves brush 284. The arcuate length of segment 274 is such that this occurs after the ballot has entered between the drum and belts 162. These belts carry the ballot to the rejected ballot take-off drum 148. The relative disposition with respect to the main drum segments of segment 354 and the relative speed of drum 148 with respect to drum 14 are such that as a rejected ballot arrives at the drum, segment 354 engages brush 356 to complete the circuit of winding 158. When this occurs, ports 154 open to take the ballot ofi the drum 14 and feed it to the slow speed belt system 164. This system and its associated housing 186 neatly stack rejected ballots in the tray 192. The tripper belts 194 ensure that no ballot remains in the machine to interfere with its operation without regard to the operation of the takeoff units.

The operation of the other units of our machine will be apparent from the description of the operation of the unit 70 given hereinabove. It will be understood that the valve row selector switch 328 assures that an accept" signal goes only to the actuating winding 312, 314, 316, or 318 associated with that unit which is approaching the acceptable ballot take-off drum.

For purposes of convenience in the schematic showing of FIGURE 3, we have indicated only three windings 80 of each unit. It is to be understood that as many windings as there are ports across the machine are provided in each unit. If desired, certain ones of these windings may be disabled by opening switches 370 when narrower ballots than the widest ballot, which can be handled by the machine, are being used. It is to be understood further that while particular elements have been shown in the control circuit of FIGURE 3, other various means could be employed to accomplish a similar result.

It will be seen that We have accomplished the objects of our invention. -We have provided a voting ballot handling machine for rapidly and expeditiously separating acceptable ballots from rejected ballots. Our machine neatly stacks the separated ballots. A ballot handled by our machine is always under positive control with the result that there is little likelihood of a torn or crumpled ballot jamming the machine. Our machine includes means for removing any ballot fed to the machine to prevent the ballot from interfering even if the take-oft units fail to function.

While we have described our machine in connection with the handling and separation of ballots it will-be readily appreciated that any paper form can be handled by the apparatus. By a paper form we mean any fiexible sheet material it is desired to handle. It will further be appreciated that while we have shown a separation of forms into only two stacks, we may, as desired, separate forms into a larger number of stacks merely by employing a greater number of take-01f stations with suitably arranged scanning apparatus.

It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This .is contemplated by and is within the scope of our claims. It is further obvious that various changes may be made n details within the scope of our claims without departing from the spirit of our invention. It is therefore to be understood that our invention is not to be limited to the specific details shown and described.

Having thus described our invention, what we claim is:

1. A paper form handler for'separating forms from a supply into first forms and second forms including in combination a conveyor, means disposed adjacent said conveyor for holding a supply of'forms to be separated, .a form scanning means located adjacent .said conveyor for producing a signal in response to the passage of a first form thereby, a first form pick-off means comprising a driven member for receiving and for carrying a first form away from said conveyor, a second form pickofi means, means mounting said second form pick-off means in spaced relationshipto said first form pick-oft means, means on said conveyor for withdrawing a form from said supply and retaining a withdrawn form on said conveyor, means for driving said conveyor to move said form withdrawing and retaining means past said supply and said scanning means and said first form pick-oft means and second form pick-01f means in sequence, means for actuating said withdrawing and retaining means as it approaches said supply, means responsive to said signal for deactivating saidwithdrawing and retaining means and means responsive to the same signal for actuating said first form pick-off means.

. 2. A paper form handler for separating-forms from a supply into first forms and second forms including in combination a conveyor, means disposed adjacent said conveyor for holding a supply of forms to be separated, a form scanning means located adjacent said conveyor :for producing a signal in response to the passage of a first form thereby, a first form pick-off means responsive to said signal comprising a driven member for receiving and for carrying a first form away from said conveyor, a second form pick-oft means comprising a driven member for receiving and for carrying a form away from said conveyor, means mounting said second form pick-off means in spaced relationship to said first form pick-off means, means on said conveyor adapted to be actuated to withdraw a form from said supply and to retain a withdrawn form on said conveyor, means for driving said conveyor to move said withdrawing and retaining means past said supply and said scanning means and said first form pickoff means and second form pick-off means in sequence, means for actuating said withdrawing and retaining means as it approaches said supply and means responsive to a predetermined movement of said conveyor for deactivating said withdrawing and retaining means in the absence of a signal from said form scanning means to permit said second pick-off means to carry a form away from said conveyor after it passes said first pick-off means.

3. A paper form handler for separating forms from a supply into first forms and second forms including in combination a conveyor, means disposed adjacent said conveyor for holding a supply of forms to be separated, a form scanning means located adjacent said conveyor producing a signal in response to the passage of a first form thereby, a first form pick-off means for carrying a first form away from said conveyor, a second form pickofi means for carrying a form away from said conveyor, means mounting said second form pick-01f means in spaced relationship to said first form pick-off means, means on said conveyor for withdrawing a form from said supply and retaining a withdrawn form on said conveyor, means for driving said conveyor to move said withdrawing and retaining means past said supply and said scanning means and said first form pick-off means and second pick-off means in sequence, means for actuating said withdrawning and retaining means as it approaches said supply, means responsive to said signal for deactivating said withdrawing and retaining means as it approaches said first form pick-ofif means, means responsive to the same signal for actuating said first pick off means and means responsive to a predetermined movement of said conveyor for deactivating said with drawing and retaining means in the absence of said signal as it approaches said second form pick-off means to permit said second form pick-off means to carry a form away from said conveyor.

4. A paper form handler for separating forms from a supply into first forms and second forms including in combination a conveyor, means disposed adjacent said conveyor for holding a supply of forms to be separated, a form scanning means located adjacent said conveyor for producing a signal in response to the passage of a first form thereby, first form pick-cit means comprising a driven member for receiving and for carrying a first form away from said conveyor, means for stacking forms carried away from said conveyor by said first pick-ofi means, second form pick-off means comprising a driven member for receiving and for carrying second forms away from said conveyor, means mounting said second form pick-off means in spaced relationship to said first form pickofi means, means for stacking second forms carried away from said conveyor by said second pick-oft" means, means on said conveyor for withdrawing a form from said supply and retaining a withdrawn form on said conveyor, means for driving said conveyor to move said withdrawing and retaining means past said supply and said scanning means and said first and second form pick-oif means in sequence, means for actuating said withdrawing and retaining means as it approaches said supply, means responsive to said signal for deactivating said withdrawing and retaining means and means responsive to the same signal for actuating said first form pick-oif means.

5. A paper form handler for sparating forms from a supply into first forms and second forms including in combination a conveyor, means disposed adjacent said conveyor for holding a supply of forms to be separated, form scanning means located adjacent said conveyor for producing a signal in response to the passage of a first form thereby, a first form pick-off means responsive to said signal comprising a driven member for receiving and for carrying a first form away from said conveyor, a second form pick-oflf means for carrying second forms from said conveyor, means mounting said second form pick-01f means in spaced relation to said first pick-off means, a plurality of individually actuatable means spaced along the length of said conveyor and for withdrawing a form from said supply and retaining a withdrawn form on said conveyor, means for driving said conveyor to move said withdrawing and retaining means sequentially past said supply and said scanning means and said first form pick-off means and second form pick-01f means in sequence, means for actuating each of said withdrawing and retaining means as it approaches said supply, means responsive to said signal for deactivating a withdrawing and retaining means as it approaches said first pick-01f means and means re- 11 sponsive to the same signal for actuating said first pickofi' means.

6. A paper form handling machine including in combination a support, a hollow drum having a peripheral skin, a source of reduced pressure, means connecting the interior of said drum to said source of reduced pressure, means mounting said drum for rotary movement on said support, means disposed adjacent said drum for holding a supply of forms, means on said drum for providing communication to the interior of said drum through said skin, a first pick-off means comprising a driven member for receiving and for carrying forms away from said drum, a second pick-ofi means comprising a driven member for receiving and for carrying forms away from said drum, means positioning said pick-off means adjacent said drum in spaced relationship to each other, scanning means for producing an output signal in response to the passage of a form of a certain character thereby, means for driving said drum to move said communication providing means successively past said supply and said scanning means and said first pick-oil means and said second pick-off means, means for actuating said communication providing means as it approaches said supply of forms, means responsive to said output signal for deactivating said communication providing means and means responsive to the same signal for actuating said first pick-ofl means.

i 7. A paper form handling machine including in combination a conveyor, means for supporting a supply of forms to be handled adjacent said conveyor, means comprising a driven member for receiving and for carrying a form away from said conveyor, means mounting said form receiving means adjacent said conveyor in spaced relationship to said form supply holding means, means on said conveyor for withdrawing a form from said supply and for retaining said form on said conveyor, means for driving said conveyor to move said form withdrawing and retaining means successively past said supply and said form receiving means, means for actuating said form withdrawing and retaining means as it approaches said supply, means for deactivating said form withdrawing and retaining means as it approaches said form receiving means and means for actuating said form receiving means to carry a withdrawn form away from said conveyor.

8. A paper form handling machine including in combination a frame, a first hollow drum having a peripheral skin, means mounting said drum for rotary movement on said frame, a source of reduced pressure, means connecting the interior of said drum to said source of reduced pressure, means for supporting a supply of forms to be handled on said frame adjacent said drum, means adapted to be actuated to provide communication to the interior of said drum through said skin, a second drum, means mounting said second drum for rotary movement on said frame adjacent said first drum, means on said second drum adapted to be actuated to remove a form from said first drum, means for driving said first drum to move said communication providing means past said supply and past said second drum in sequence, means for actuating said communication providing means as it approaches said supply, means for deactivating said communication providing means at is approaches said second drum and means for actuating said second drum removal means.

9. A paper form machine, as in claim 8, including means for stacking forms removed from said first drum by said second drum.

10. A paper form handling machine including in combination a frame, a first hollow drum having a peripheral skin, means mounting said drum for rotary movement on said frame, a source of reduced pressure, means connecting the interior of said drum to said source of reduced pressure, means for supporting a supply of forms to be handled on said frame adjacent said drum, means adapted to be actuated to provide communication to the interior of said drum through said skin, a second hollow drum having a peripheral skin, means connecting the interior of said second drum to said source of reduced pressure, means mounting said second drum for rotary movement on said frame adjacent said first drum, means adapted to be actuated to provide communication to the interior of said second drum through said second drum peripheral skin, means for driving said first drum to move its communication providing means successively past said supply and past said second drum, means for actuating said first drum communication providing means as it ap proaches said supply, means for deactivating said first drum communication providing means as it approaches said second drum'and means for actuating said second drum communication providing means as said first drum communication providing means approaches said second drum.

11. A paper form handling machine including in combination a support, a hollow drum having a peripheral skin, a source of reduced pressure, means connecting the interior of said drum to said source of reduced pressure means mounting said drum for rotary movement on said support, means disposed adjacent said drum for holding a supply of forms, means on said drum adapted to be actuated to provide communication to the interior of said drum through said skin, a form take off means disposed adjacent said drum, means for driving said drum to move said communication providing means past said supply and said removal means in sequence, means for actuating said communication providing means as it approaches said supply of forms, means for deactivating said corn munication providing means after a predetermined rotation of said drum and a plurality of stripper belts for removing forms remaining on said drum after said communication providing means passes said removal means.

12. Ina form handling mechanism having a conveyor for transferring a form from a supply to a location remote from said supply, means for removing a form from said conveyor atsaid remote location, a tray, a second conveyor for carrying a form from said removal means to said tray, means for retaining a form on said conveyor until the form is in position over said tray and means responsive to the arrival of a form in a position over said tray for deactivating said retaining means.

13. A paper form handling mechanism including in combination a support, a first drum, means mounting said first drum for rotary movement on said support, means for holding a supply of forms to be handled on said support adjacent said drum, a second drum, means mounting said second drum for rotary movement on said support, means on said first drum adapted to be actuated to withdraw a form from said supply and to retain a withdrawn form on said drum, means on said second drum adapted to be actuated to remove a form from said first drum,

means for driving said first drum to convey a form from said supply to said second drum, a slow speed belt system supported on said frame adjacent said second drum, means for driving said second drum to carry a removed form from said first drum to said belt system, a tray for receiving forms from said slow speed belt system, means for driving said slow speed belt system to carry a form from said second drum to said tray, and means for retaining a form on said slow speed belt system until it is disposed over said tray.

14. In a form handling mechanism having a conveyor for transferring a form from a supply to a location remote from the supply, means for driving said first conveyor at a certain speed, a second conveyor, means for driving said second conveyor ata speed which is less than said certain speed, means for transferring forms from said first conveyor to said'second conveyor whereby, said second conveyor receives a plurality of forms in overlapping relationship, a tray positioned adjacent said second conveyor for receiving-forms from said second conveyor and means comprising a low pressure platen for 13 1 retaining said overlapping forms on said second conveyor 2,617,528 Moore Nov. 11, 1952 until they are in a position over said tray to cause a neat 2,795,328 Tyler June 11, 1957 stack of forms to be deposited in said tray. 2,804,974 Noon Sept. 3, 1957 2,848,107 Iuengst Aug. 19, 195 8 References Cited in the file of this patent 5 2,905,466 Alan SePt- 1959 UNITED STATES PATENTS FOREIGN PATENTS 2,229,638 Chamberlin Ian. 23, 1941 103,201 Sweden 2, 19 1

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4250806 *Nov 27, 1978Feb 17, 1981The Perkin-Elmer CorporationComputer controlled inspector/printer document inspection
US8162214Jul 16, 2008Apr 24, 2012Tritek Technologies, Inc.Ballot processing method and apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification209/553
Cooperative ClassificationG06K13/073