|Publication number||USRE40449 E1|
|Application number||US 11/062,351|
|Publication date||Aug 5, 2008|
|Filing date||Feb 14, 2005|
|Priority date||Dec 7, 2000|
|Also published as||US6769613, US20020072961|
|Publication number||062351, 11062351, US RE40449 E1, US RE40449E1, US-E1-RE40449, USRE40449 E1, USRE40449E1|
|Inventors||Anthony I. Provitola, Michael R. McDermott|
|Original Assignee||Provitola Anthony I, Mcdermott Michael R|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (15), Non-Patent Citations (12), Referenced by (5), Classifications (8), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Current mechanical and electronic voting systems that do not involve physical alteration of ballot material by the voter do not provide for voter verification of the correctness of his or her own vote. Current voting systems that do involve physical alteration of ballot material by the voter to effect voting are subject to erroneous or incompetent handling by the voter. When such erroneous or incompetent handling by the voter occurs, the mechanical or electronic means for counting the votes on the ballot are affected, and the ballot may be rejected or the counting otherwise rendered inaccurate or suspect. The circumstance of ballot rejection or inconsistent mechanical tabulation in the case of erroneous or incompetent handling by the voter often requires manual examination of ballots, which is not only laborious and subject to its own inaccuracies, but is also inherently fraught with difficulty in maintaining the integrity of the election process. The principal object of the present invention is to provide a voter with a printed ballot prepared by a computer station and printer from input by the voter which completely and accurately presents the votes of the voter, and which is in a familiar form for easy review of his or her vote by the voter, so that machine and human error may be detected and corrected before the ballot is finally submitted by the voter for tabulation with the votes of other voters.
There is no prior art that this invention builds upon except its generic relationship to the well-known concept of electronic and mechanical voting machines, including those which produce a permanent paper record in addition to direct electronic and mechanical tabulation. However, there does not appear to be any prior art which combines accurate electronic or mechanical preparation of a printed ballot with an opportunity for review of the ballot by the voter and mechanical or electronic comparison of the printed ballot with the data stored from the voter input.
The present invention has elements that may be considered to be covered generally by class 235, particularly subclass 51 covering machines employed for casting and counting votes.
The present invention is a voting system and method which provides for auto-verification, auto-verification meaning here the process by which the voter has the opportunity and the responsibility to verify that the ballot with which he or she votes shows the votes as he or she intended. The voting system also provides for correction of the votes of the voter by the voter if the election ballot produced by a computer voting station from his or her voting input does not show the votes as he or she intended, such correction being effected by repeating the voting process and producing another printed ballot. The present invention provides a voter with a printed ballot prepared by a computer voting station with a printer from input by the voter which accurately presents the votes of the voter in a familiar form, and which the voter than submits as his or her votes.
The present invention employs a computer voting station which is a computer to which a display, an input device, and a printer are connected, and which is running a computer program for directing the voting process for the voter and for vote counting. A ballot scanning machine which is capable of reading ballot selection markings, such as the filled-circle, filled-oval, or filled-rectangle types of voting markings, may also be connected to the voting station. The computer program for the voting system displays the ballot for voting together with instructions for voting and provides for input of votes by the voter. The voter votes by selecting his or her preference in candidates or issue positions by means of an input device recognized by the computer program, and the computer program temporarily stores such vote information in memory or on storage media. A printed ballot produced by the computer voting station which shows the votes of a voter is then presented to the voter and either compared by the voter, or by operation of the computer program for the voting system with a ballot scanning machine, the machine capable of reading ballot selections, with the votes of the voter temporarily stored in the computer. The result of the comparison is then judged acceptable or unaccceptable by the voter, in the case of comparison by the voter, or by the computer program for the voting system using the ballot scanning machine so that only printed ballots which show votes by the voter identical to the votes of the voter stored in the computer voting station will be accepted for final tabulation. Such final tabulation is then made by a tabulation machine for the precinct.
The present invention is a voting system which provides for auto-verification, auto-verification meaning here the process by which the voter has the opportunity and the responsibility to verify that the printed ballot which he or she finally presents as his or her votes shows the votes he or she intended. The voting system also provides for correction of his or her vote if the printed ballot by which he or she voted is not as he or she intended, such a correction being effected by repeating the operation of the voting station in the voting process. Although the voting system which is the present invention is complete as the instrument by which an election process may be carried out, the voting process is ultimately founded upon the law which governs elections and the manner in which the voting system is managed and operated. Thus, there may be many variations in the process that will be effective and equivalent in the management and operation of the voting system which is the present invention that will produce an accurate count of votes which have been individually verified by the voters themselves.
The principle object of the present invention is to provide a voter with a printed ballot prepared by a voting station with a printer from input from the voter which accurately presents the vote of the voter, and which is in a familiar form for easy review by the voter, so that machine and human error may be detected and corrected before the ballot is submitted by the voter for tabulation with the votes of the other voters.
The present invention is a voting system and method which, referring to
In the example of the auto-verifying voting system schematically shown in
The computer program 2a for the voting system may be running in a master computer 7 of which the voting stations 1 are terminals, or locally stored in each computer 2 for a voting station, which may be a stand-alone computer 2, depending on the hardware configuration chosen to implement the voting system. The computer program 2a by which the voting system is operated, running in the computer 2 for a voting station 1, functions to cause the computer 2 for a voting station 1 to display voting information and instructions to the voter, as well as instructions and information as to the operation of the voting system. Such voting instructions may be presented by the program 2a visually or audibly, with various options for languages other than English for selection by the voter, and may include practical and legal warnings about voting and the abuse of the voting right. The type of display device 4, visual or auditory, as would be necessary for voters whose sight was impaired, may be selected by the vector before commencing the operation of the voting station 1 by program 2a selection or by prior arrangement with election officials. Such a selection may be implemented by directing the voter to a voting station 1 specifically equipped for the selection, or by an opinion available in the computer program 2a in appropriately configured computer 2 voting stations 1.
The computer program 2a also displays the ballot for voting and provides for input of votes by the voter, the type of display device 4 again being selected in advance of commencing operation of the voting station. Again referring to
Upon or following temporary storage of the vote of the voter by the computer program 2a in the computer 2 for the voting station 1, the vote of the voter is then presented to the voter in the form of a paper ballot 11, 12 printed by the printer 5 for that voting station 1, the paper ballot being produced by the printer 5 in the printing process by the computer program 2a from the information concerning the vote of the voter stored in memory, such vote being represented on the printed ballot by filled-circles or other ballot selection markings related to the choices of the voter made upon voting. The printed ballot may be produced by the printer 5 by printing the votes of the voter on a pre-printed election ballot, or by printing the votes of the voter concurrently with the printing of the election ballot on the same paper as the election ballot is printed. The printed ballot may be embossed in braille directly by a braille printer for reading and verification by a sight-impaired voter 12, or translated and overprinted with the use of a machine using well-known technology for character recognition and braille printing. The voter then has an opportunity to examine the printed ballot for correctness with regard to the preferences expressed by his or her voting 13. If upon inspection of the printed ballot produced by the printer 5 for the voting station 1 used by the voter 13, the voter observes that the printed ballot correctly represents the votes of the voter 15, the ballot may be submitted by the voter 16 for processing to a ballot scanning machine 6 interfaced with that voting station 17. Such processing may proceed in the computer program 2a by comparison of the votes represented by ballot selection markings on the printed ballot with the votes stored in the computer 2 for the voting station 1. If the votes shown on the printed ballot are identical to the votes stored in the computer 2 for the voting station 1, the ballot is returned to the voter for presentation by the voter 16 for final tabulation 19 by one of the tabulating machines 9 for the voting precinct (or other legally chosen voting subdivision), and the vote data which was temporarily stored in the voting station 1 computer 2 is finally stored 19 for processing by the computer program 2a.
A ballot scanning machine 6 may also be programmed through the computer 2 for the voting station 1 to imprint the printed ballot with a validation marking or code which the tabulation machines 9 for the precinct require for acceptance of the printed ballot for tabulation. If the votes of the voter as shown on the printed ballot are not identical to the votes of the voter stored in the computer for the voting station 1 computer 2, the printed ballot presented to the voter may then be invalidated 14, 17, which may be evidenced by defacement or other treatment of the ballot, and the ballot may either be returned to the voter for reference, or destroyed 18. Such a ballot scanning machine 6 would in a preferred embodiment render such an invalidated ballot unacceptable by the tabulation machine 9 for the precinct, so that the votes on such an invalidated ballot could not be accepted as final votes for tabulation 19 with other votes. The vote information temporarily stored in the voting station 1 computer 2 would then be erased, and not stored for further processing with other final votes stored in the computer 2 for the voting station 1. Upon the occurrence of such an invalidation of a printed ballot the voting system would become subject to diagnostic review to determine the cause of the discrepancy, which may require the temporary closure of the system. If the hardware configuration permits, only the voting station 1 involved which produced the discrepancy would be shut down for diagnostic review, with the voter being directed to another voting station 1 to repeat the voting process.
The processing of the individual votes of the voters may include continuous tabulation 19 by inclusion of the vote of the voter in the total of votes cast in selection of the candidates or on the issue positions, database recording of the anonymous voting of each voter, real time read-out of voting information, and continuous comparison with the results of the vote counting by the tabulating machine 9 for the voting precinct. All of the voting activity of the computers 2 the voting stations 1, and the tabulations 19 by the voting precinct (or other legally chosen voting subdivision) may be recorded for later review. Such voting activity may also be monitored in real-time, so that if discrepancies appear between the tabulation of the votes cast as shown from the totals available from the computer program 2a for the voting stations 1 and the tabulation 19 of the votes cast by the tabulating machine 9 of the precinct, (or other legally chosen voting subdivision) those discrepancies may be brought to the attention of election officials, present to or removed from the precinct (or other legally chosen voting subdivision).
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|U.S. Classification||235/386, 705/12, 235/51|
|International Classification||G07C13/00, G06F11/00, G06K17/00|
|Jul 7, 2009||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Feb 14, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Feb 14, 2012||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
Year of fee payment: 7