Jan 11 2007

E-Voting By The Numbers

E-Voting By The Numbers

The general elections last November saw 36 percent of the nation’s counties — 38.4 percent of registered voters — using electronic equipment, according to a study compiled by Election Data Services, a Washington, D.C., consulting firm that conducts voting equipment studies every two years before the November general elections.

EDS’ 2006 Voting Equipment Study found that despite a Help America Vote Act deadline on the replacement of lever and punch-card voting equipment by 2006, some 12 million registered voters live in counties that still used lever machines or punch-card systems.

E-voting equipment was used by 65.9 million voters, but almost half of all registered voters used optical equipment, the preferred choice of smaller jurisdictions because of the lower upfront costs compared to e-voting systems.

“The most important trend is that e-voting ballooned early but hasn’t continued. When people talked about making changes to their voting equipment, a lot of them looked toward electronic systems. But that hasn’t come true over time because of all the controversy on the electronic systems,” says Kimball Brace, president of EDS.

“History has shown that whenever jurisdictions run new systems they have the biggest potential for problems,” says Brace.

Percent of Counties Percent of Registered Voters
Punch Card 0.4% 0.2%
Lever 2.0% 6.8%
Paper 1.8% 0.2%
Optical 56.2% 48.9%
Electronic 36.6% 38.3%
Mixed systems 3.0% 5.5%

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