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How We Do It Now

Voting in the United States is generally managed at the county level. Managed, in this sense, means that county organizations select the voting mechanism; pay for it; prepare it for each election; put it away in storage after; arrange for staffing of polling places; manage tabulation and reporting; and so on. The county also pays for the technology. Counties are divided into zones called precincts and each precinct has a certain number of people residing within it who may vote there. Voting is tied to residency, not to property ownership, original place of birth, or other possible methods of enfranchisement. Each county decides for itself what method of voting it uses. The five methods used are paper ballot, voting machine, punch card ballot, scanned ballot, and electronic device.

Each method has its problems. Paper ballots, for example, can be miscounted because the marking isn't clearly in one box or another. Paper ballots and punch card ballots can be “lost” or “misplaced.” Punch card ballots can be mispunched or not fully punched. Some punch card ballots may not be counted because they stuck to another ballot. Some electronic devices don't register all the votes. Some marked ballots can't be scanned properly.


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