An Animation of a Votomatic Voting Machine

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Douglas W. Jones


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In looking at this figure, note the following:

  1. This figure is not to scale!
  2. Various T-bar geometry and materials have been used. Today's machines use T-strips made of an elastomer; the strips almost meet under the center of the (potential) hole, but yield as the chad is pushed through.
  3. About a decade ago, John Ahmann of Election Supplies Inc patented the a stylus with a needle in the tip. This stabs the piece of chad and almost guarantees a clean punch unless there is an obstruction. The modern microtip stylus has a 0.001 inch needle, so small you can barely feel it, yet quite sufficient to keep the chad from sliding to the side even if the stylus catches it way off center.
  4. A new guard sheet is prepared for each election. Holes punched in the guard sheet allow ballots to be punched only in certain positions.
  5. It is highly unlikely that the piece of chad will tear loose at both ends at the same time. Thus, it is likely to be in a trapdoor configuration initially.
  6. If the T-bars were missing or badly worn, the piece of chad would not grip the end of the punch, and as a result, even with a needle point stylus, it would not tear loose.
  7. The space behind the T-bars is big enough to hold an awful lot of chad.