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37% used punch card systems in 1996 Presidential election

The punchcard voting systems, the 1964 technology that caused problems in the Presidential election in Florida this year, were used by 37.3 percent of registered voters in the US Presidential election of 1996, according to the Federal Election Commission.

The Marksense optical scan systems, which read ballots by finding the darkest mark, were used by 24.6 percent of voters in 1996. The third-ranking technology, the mechanical lever voting booths invented in 1892, were used by 20.7 percent of voters.

The newest system, the Direct Recording Electronic, was used by 7.7 percent of 1996 voters. "As with the lever machines, there is no ballot; the possible choices are visible to the voter on the front of the machine. The voter directly enters choices into electronic storage with the use of a touch-screen, push-buttons, or similar device. An alphabetic keyboard is often provided with the entry device to allow for the possibility of write-in votes. The voter's choices are stored in these machines via a memory cartridge, diskette or smart-card and added to the choices of all other voters," according to the FEC.

Uniform paper ballots, first used in Australia in 1856, were used by only 1.7 percent of voters in the 1996 Presidential election.

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