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Publication numberUS3766541 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 16, 1973
Filing dateAug 14, 1972
Priority dateAug 14, 1972
Also published asCA993975A1, DE2341189A1
Publication numberUS 3766541 A, US 3766541A, US-A-3766541, US3766541 A, US3766541A
InventorsH Becker, T Gordon
Original AssigneeApplied Futures
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Voting machine
US 3766541 A
A series-parallel DC circuit with a switch for each voter to select his answer and an adjustable resistor for controlling current in the selected circuit to thereby indicate the degree of confidence of the voter in his answer.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Gordon et al.

VOTING MACHINE Inventors: Theodore J. Gordon, Harold S.

Becker, both of Glastonbury, Conn.

- Assigneei "xipriarmregihe, crmmr,


Filed: Aug. 14, 1972 Appl. No.: 280,674

US. Cl 340/332, 35/48 R, 235/52 Int. Cl. G08b 5/00 Field of Search 340/332; 235/52;

35/48 R; 179/2 AS References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS .7/1955 Blaustein et al. 235/52 [451 Oct. 16,1973

.Millard, Jr. 235/52 Rhodes 235/52 Sylvester et al 135/48 R Foresman, Jr. 340/332 Wopart, Jr 35/48 R Primary Examiner-John W. Caldwell Assistant Examiner Robert .1. Mooney Attorney-John M. Prutz'man et al.

ABSTRACT A series-parallel DC circuit with a switch for each voter to select his answer and an adjustable resistor for controlling current in the selected circuit to thereby indicate the degree of confidence of the voter in his answer.

8 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to methods and apparatus for measuring and displaying the vote on a given question and is particularly directed to providing improved methods and'apparatus whereby the magnitude of confidence of the voter in his vote on a question is measured and indicated together with the total vote and group confidence for a plurality of voters.

That class of devices generally called voting machines such as shown in US. Pat. Nos. 1,068,921, 2,439,041 and 3,281,823 is closely related to the developing art of teaching aids as indicated by US. Pat. No. 3,190,014. Such prior art has generally developed with voting machines as well as teaching aids to provide remote stations which can be called voting stations whereby the voter selectively indicates his position or vote on a given question or issue, which vote is then received at a master station for subsequent indication; certain of the apparatus provides the ability for private answer back indication of the correctness of a given vote or question. However, the present apparatus is principally concerned with the resolution of issues and questions for which there is no precisely predetermined right or wrong answer. For example, a corporate decision to purchase new manufacturing facilities may necessitate a vote by the Board of Directors of the corporation and such voting may be dominated by particularly persuasive individuals whose openly expressed position tends to persuade or even dominate the votes of the other directors. Such voting is generally what might be called digital voting in that it is a yes or no type vote but it clearly risks voter error because of voter domination while depriving the voter of the right to express his degree of confidence in the vote that he is to register. It is, therefore, a principal object of the present invention to enable the voter to not only express his digital response such as, for example, a yes or no or his selection of one of a plurality of possible answers, but also express the degree of confidence that he may have in that particular digital expression; included within this object is the availability of individual voter secrecy and group secrecy until all votes have been taken.

It is a further object of this invention to permit the analog scaling of the total response from a series of voters so that the final vote indicates both the result of the digital yes-no answer together with the total confidence as expressed by the entire voting group. Included within this object is the provision of apparatus which permits full range confidence modification of digital votes.

It is a still further object of this invention to provide simple low cost apparatus for deriving the desired analog vote scaling which permits analysis and evaluation of the total confidence factor to be found in the composite vote. It is, of course, desirable that such apparatus be relatively uncomplicated, easily installed and serviced and, where possible, portable in nature to permit its use in a variety of environments.

Other objects will be in part obvious and in part pointed out more in detail hereinafter.

A better understanding of the objects, advantages, features, properties and relationships of this invention will be obtained from the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings which set forth an illustrative embodiment and are indicative of the ways in which the principles of this invention are employed.


FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of an embodiment of apparatus and electrical circuitry of this invention which permits facile practice of the methods of this invention; and

FIG. 2 is a simplified diagram of the apparatus of FIG. 1 conditioned for a vote in progress.

The apparatus of FIG. 1 is generally described as comprising three major units: the master station 10, the display station 11, and the voting station by the numeral 12, there being four identical voting stations shown in FIG. 1, 12a, 12b, 12c and 12d. It is understood, however, there can be any desired number of such voting stations within the concept of this voting method and apparatus. Each of the stations 12 is shown for plug-in electrical connection to the master stations through suitable conductors and plugs 15 and 16 and to the display station through suitable conductors and plugs 17 and 18, the display station being connected to master station 10 through suitable conductors and plug 19.

Turning first to a description of master station 10, it is seen that this station is energized through plug 21 from any suitable AC supply and is provided with an on-off switch 22 to energize two main power supplies; namely, DC power supply 23 and AC power supply 25. The input voltage to power supply 23 is selectively controlled. to the desired input level through adjustable transformer 26 to provide a DC power (such as through bridge rectifiers, not shown) at the desired voltage as shown at volt meter 27 and ammeter 28. The main DC output line 30 is connected to each voting station 12a, l2b-through contact 32a of plug 15a, contact 32b of plug 15b, etc. The adjustability of power supply 23 provides up to volts DC to each of the voting stations. Because the stations are identical the circuit of only one such station will be described in its entirety. For completeness, it is observed that the DC power supply can also be of the constant voltage type or of the constant current type Without departing from this invention.

Main DC bus 30 is the common supply to the voting circuits in each voting station and each such voting circuit includes series connected resistors 40a, 42a and 43a which are energized through contact 44a of relay 45a and which are connected to the display station 11 through selector switch 46a and conductors 47, 48 or 49 between plug connectors 18 and 17. Resistor 42a is an internal adjustment within the voting station itself and is set after completion of system installation to compensate for various line voltage drops occasioned by the system itself, the number of voting stations, etc. Resistor 40a which includes switch 41a is a key element in that it is the vote scaler; i.e., the adjustment by which the voter indicates his degree of confidence in his vote. In the preferred embodiment, adjustment of a knob generally designated at 50 to reduce resistance to zero coincides with the scale indication of one hundred per cent confidence; if knob 50 is adjusted to the zero confidence position, switch 41a is opened to provide infinite resistance such that the vote would count nothing. Thus, there is a range of scale adjustments available to the voter to set forth his degree of confidence from zero to 100 percent, in the vote to be selected by switch 46a. Resistance 43a is a fixed internal resistor serving as a current limiting resistor and is of identical value in each voting station.

Vote selector switch 46a is shown as having three connected voting positions 1, 2 and 3 thereby providing to the voter three alternative and mutually exclusive answers, each of which can selectively contain a degree of confidence as established by adjustment of resistance 40a in accordance with the scale indications. The number of switch positions can, of course, be as many as desired; similarly, switch 46a can be used simply to provide a dual alternative or a yes-no type vote. The selection of positions 1, 2 or 3 of the vote selection switch determines which of the voting buses 47, 48 or 49 will be energized by a particular vote. The voting buses are connected through connectors 17 to the display station 11 and to vote indicating devices 60, 61 and 62, which, for simplicity, are indicated to be conventional DC ammeters. One meter is provided for each voting bus; thus, if there are selection steps on the vote switch 46 there would be 10 meters. Each meter is connected to a common return bus 65 connected to DC power supply 23 through plug connector 19 and line 66.

Turning now to the second power supply to be found in master station 10, switch 22 also controls energization of conventional AC transformer 25 to supply the control and indicating circuits for each voting station. The output of transformer 25 is indicated as being present by lamp 70 and is connected through conductor 71 to the control and switching conductor 72 and thereby to each voting station, the return to transformer 25 being provided through conductor 73 and switch 74. The operating coil 75 of relay 45a is connected across control conductors 72, 73 through momentary contact switch 78a so that depressing switch 78 energizes the relay coil 75 to close coil locking contacts 80 and to move contacts 81 to energize lamps 82 and de-energize lamp 83. For purposes of the illustrated embodiment, lamp 83 would say Please Vote, lamp 82 would say Vote Recorded. Thus, switch 78 is the Vote switch.

Switch 86 is also closed by energization of relay 45a and is connected through suitable wiring (not fully shown) to la'mp 87a, thereby to provide an indication at master station 10 to show whether or not station 12a has voted. Thus, the energization of vote or momentary switch 78a permits the vote at station 12a to take place, signals to the voter that his vote is being recorded and signals to the master station that the vote has taken place. When all votes from stations 12a, 12b, 120, etc. have been completed as indicated by the several indicator lamps 87a, 87b, 87c, (i.e., one lamp for each voting station), switches 90 and 91 are closed by the master station operator thereby to close the voting circuit and provide current to the selected meters 60, 61, 62. It

' lamps 87a, 87b, etc.). Thus, until the vote has been completed at each station, no visual display is presented which would permit a given voter to be influenced by the display as it appears, (i.e., the vote of others). If the voltage input to power supply 23 is adjusted.

by means of control26 (or automatically by internal circuiting) so that typically 1 milliamp is indicated on meter 28, and if meters 60, 61, and 62 read 1 milliamp full scale, the readings of meters 60, 61 and 62 may be interpreted directly in terms of percentage of total vote as weighted by confidence. Furthermore, voltmeter 27 will'provide a reading which is directly analogous to overall group confidence. By opening switches and 91, the entire system is reset by interrupting the control power circuits and de-energizing each relay in each voting station.

The operation of the foregoing apparatus and the illustration of the method of permitting analog vote scaling without affecting the weight accorded to each confidence factor is best understood by going through a typical vote problem. The operator of master station 10 would, by suitable visual or audio means, pose a question to each of the voters. For example: What percentage of the people living in the United States in the year 1980 will be living in the cities? The voter can then select the desired per cent as determined by the position of switch 46 (i.e., position No. l-25 percent, No. 2-50 percent, No. 3-75 percent). The voter will then adjust resistor 40 to select the degree of confidence he has in his answer and will thereafter effect his scaled vote by depressing the vote button (momentary contact switch) 78. Relay 45a is then energized to close switches to show that the vote is being recorded (by illuminating lamp 82) and illuminating indicating light 87 on the master station. When all the voting station indicator lights have been illuminated, the operator will then close switches 90 and 91 to energize the branch voting circuits and to provide total current readings at meters 60, 61 and 62 which will show the vote for each of the alternatives, derated or scaled to reflect the degree of confidence to be found in each of the alternatives which are presented. If desired, to further minimize possible effect of the appearance of the visual dis play to an individual voter (which may cause him to attempt to alter his confidence factor or to change switch positions) the meters 60, 61 and 62 can be peak-reading meters.

FIG. 2 is a schematic or equivalent circuit diagram of a .typical voting condition wherein each voting station has been energized as previously described through resistances in each branch as determined by the degree of confidence and through a particular voting bus as determined by the position of the vote select switches.

The equivalent resistance of branch 1 (voting station 12a) is represented by R and is the total resistance in that branch made up by resistor 43a (which for purposes of this illustration is a fixed resistor 80K ohms), calibration resistor 42a (which has been set for the purposes of this example at 10k ohms), and the resistance determined by the setting of resistor 40a (the confidence factor) which for the purposes of this example has been set at 10k ohms indicating a relatively high confidence factor within the adjustment range of 0-500k ohms adjustment setting of variable resistor 40a. Thus branch 1 provides a total branch resistance of k ohms and the voter has selected switch position 1 as being his choice. The equivalent resistance of branch 2 (voting station 12b) shown as R is 200k ohms, the internal adjustment resistance and the current limiting resistance being the same as branch 1 but with a lower confidence factor being selected by the voter, i.e., 1 k ohms for resistor 40b. This voter has, however, selected answer number 1 as being the correct answer even though he has a lesser degree of confidence than voter number 1. Voters number 3 and 4 have selected answer number 2 as being the correct answer (as indicated by the positioning of selector switch 46c and 46d) and each has indicated a relatively high confidence value in his selection by adjusting his confidence selection resistor 400 to 10k ohms.

in the illustrated operating condition and after all votes have been effected, the voltage output of the DC power supply 23 is adjusted through transformer 26 to provide a l milliamp total current through ammeter 28 (use of a known constant current power supply could eliminate such an adjustment). By utilizing simple parallel DC circuit analysis, it can be established that meter 60 will register 43 milliamps and that meter 61 will register 57 milliamps. The deflection of such meters being applied against an appropriate scale to indicate the total vote for answer number 1 as shown at meter 60 and the total vote for answer number 2 as shown at meter 61, each such total vote being derated in accordance with voter confidence. The foregoing example also permits volt meter 27 to be used to provide a direct reading of a factor that is analogous to a factor called group confidence." For example, if each person has voted half confidence in the foregoing example, the applied DC voltage would have to be adjusted to an amount twice as high (to provide the desired 1 milliamp current) as would be required if each person voting had expressed full confidence in his vote. Thus, in addition to indicating answers and answer confidence, the method and apparatus of this invention provide a comparative indication of group confidence.

The present invention contemplates a wide variety of vote indicators utilizing the magnitude of branch DC currents as the combined vote confidence indicator. Ammeters of the edge-scale type are ideally suited although other current activated devices may be used. Additionally, remote indicators using closed circuit television can provide scale enlargement for group display and reading.

From the foregoing description of a preferred embodiment of my invention, it is seen that selective voting is achieved with each voter free to express his degree of confidence in his vote without voter influence. By utilizing the adjustability of DC current as the analog of vote confidence, simplified apparatus can be used to practice my improved method of voting.

As will be apparent to persons skilled in the art, various modifications, adaptations and variations of the foregoing specific disclosure can be made without departing from the teachings of the present invention.

We claim:

1. The method for permitting a voter to independently select and indicate the answers to a question comprising the steps of: operating a alternative selector to establish an electrical answer circuit for each alterantive answer to the question posed, each said circuit having an answer indicator; adjusting the magnitude of an electrical parameter in each answer circuit, the relative magnitude of such parameter being a measure of voter confidence in his answer; and energizing all electrical answer circuits thereby to energize selected answer indicators proportional to the total of the adjusted electrical parameters.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the energizing of the electrical circuits takes place after all vote circuit selectors have been operated and the circuit parameters have been adjusted.

,3. The method of claim 1 including the additional steps of providing a common electrical supply for each answer circuit and adjusting the magnitude of a first electrical parameter of said supply to provide a predetermined magnitude of a second electrical parameter of said supply thereby to indicate the confidence of the total group in accordance with the adjusted magnitude of the first electrical supply parameter.

4. Apparatus for analog vote scaling comprising a plurality of parallel connected branch electrical circuits, one for each voter; each said branches having selector means operable to select one of a plurality of indicating circuits, one such indicating circuit being provided for each answer, each said branch having an adjustable impedance in series with said selector means, said impedance being adjustable in magnitude inversely proportional to the amount of confidence the voter has in the answer as selected by said selecting means and a power supply for electrically energizing said parallel connected branch circuits thereby to activate each selected indicator circuit.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said adjustable impedance is a variable resistor and each indicator circuit includes a current measuring device for indicating the total vote as modified by voter confidence.

6. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein an indicator signals the completion of the vote at each branch circuit and said power supply is selectively operable upon indication that all branch circuits have been conditioned to vote.

7. Voting apparatus comprising a power supply connected to a plurality of electrical circuits, one circuit being provided for each possible answer, means for selectively completing one of said electrical circuits to indicate the selected answer, and means for adjusting the current in said selected electrical circuit in a manner inversely proportional to the degree of confidence of the voter in the selected answer.

8. The method for independent, plural person question answering comprising the steps of selecting by each voter of an answer to a question by completing an electrical circuit through an answer indicator and adjusting by each voter of the magnitude of an electrical parameter in the answer circuit the relative value of which is a measure of the voters confidence in his answer.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3 766 ,541 I Dated October 16 I 1973 Theodore J. Gordon and Harold 3., Becker It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 4, line 57, "80K" should be 80k Column 5, line 20, "43" should be 0 .43

line 21, "57" Should be 0.57

line 60, "alternative" should be vote Column 6, lines 1 and 2, "alterantive" should be alternative Signed and sealed this 26th day of March 197A. v

(SEAL) Attest:

EDWARD I LFLETCHERJR; c. MARSHALL DANN Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents F ORM PO-i 050 (10-69) USCOMM-DC 60376-P69 u.s. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: I969 0-366-334 i UNITED STATES PATENT CTFTCE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3 766 ,541 l Dated October 16 I 1973 Inventor( Theodore J. Gordon and Harold S. Becker It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 4, line 57, "80K" should be 80k Column 5, line 20, "43" should be 0.43

line 21, "57" should be 0.57

line 60, "alternative" should be vote Columri"-6,. lines- 1 and Z, "alterantive" should be alternative Signed and sealed this 26th day of March 197b,. Y

(SEAL) Attes t: I

EDWARD PLFLETCHERJR; I C. MARSHALL DANN Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents FORM PO-105O (10-69) USCOMM-DC 60376-P69 u.s GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE Iss9 0-366-334

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3947669 *Dec 30, 1974Mar 30, 1976Applied Futures, Inc.Voting machine
US4489316 *Oct 23, 1980Dec 18, 1984Macquivey Donald RMethod and apparatus for minority view reduction
US5821508 *Dec 24, 1996Oct 13, 1998Votation, LlcAudio ballot system
US6964372Jul 29, 2003Nov 15, 2005Peterson William MConference-table-based wired information system
US7387244May 27, 2005Jun 17, 2008Election Systems & Software, Inc.Electronic voting system and method with voter verifiable real-time audit log
US9098731Mar 22, 2012Aug 4, 2015Plickers Inc.Optical polling platform methods, apparatuses and media
US20060266829 *May 27, 2005Nov 30, 2006Steve BoltonElectronic voting system and method with voter verifiable real-time audit log
U.S. Classification340/332, 235/52
International ClassificationG09B7/07, G08B5/00
Cooperative ClassificationG08B5/00
European ClassificationG08B5/00
Legal Events
Dec 3, 1984AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Effective date: 19841011
Dec 3, 1984ASAssignment
Effective date: 19841011