Voting Machines in the United States (1911)

(The Western Woman Voter, April 1911) Voting machines are in use in nearly one thousand cities and towns in the United States. These machines count the ballots as they are cast, so that twenty minutes after the close of the election the result is known. There is, moreover, a much smaller percentage of lost votes than by the ballot method. In San Francisco, where the machines were in use before the fire, the percentage of the votes cast that was recorded and counted was 99⅞. No large city ever showed such high percentage of the ballots cast actually counted.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Women’s Suffrage Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily (1849-1856), National Citizen and Ballot Box (1878-1881), The Revolution (1868-1872), The New Citizen (1909-1912), The Western Woman Voter (1911-1913), and the antisuffrage newspaper, The Remonstrance (1890-1913).

The laws of New York, California, Indiana, Wisconsin, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey, Iowa, Connecticut, Utah, Ohio, Nebraska, Michigan and Montana permit the use of voting machines and in all of these states they are gradually taking the place of the paper ballot.

Wherever voting machines are installed they are popular because of their economy and accuracy. While the initial expense is considerable, the saving in election expenses soon covers this expense.

A voting machine designed by Alfred J. Gillespie and marketed by the Standard Voting Machine Company of Rochester, New York from the late 1890s.

A voting machine designed by Alfred J. Gillespie and marketed by the Standard Voting Machine Company of Rochester, New York from the late 1890s.

The voting machine laws of most states permit a larger number of voters in precincts using voting machines. Experience has shown that 800 to 900 voters may vote in a single precinct, with one machine, without inconvenience.

The cost of printing thousands of paper ballots is saved. Fewer election officers are required. When voting is finished the counting is finished, and the cost is entirely saved. The yearly expense of repairing and renewing wooden booths, ballot boxes, guard rails, etc., is saved. The saving thus effected does not include thousands of dollars saved by reason of eliminating election contests, and recounts. The cost for repairs has been, in most cities, absolutely nothing. Milwaukee after five years’ use reports no expense for repairs.

The machines cost from $600 to $850 each. In Milwaukee the expense of setting them up and transporting them to and from the precincts is $500 for each election.

In many instances the machines save 40 to 60 per cent of the election expense and pay for themselves in four elections. Buffalo purchased 108 machines and found that in four elections they had saved their expense.

Where Voting Machines Are Used

Voting Machines in the United States (1911)

The Western Woman Voter, April 1911

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