The first official voting machine in the United States was patented in 1881. Anthony Beranek patented the first voting machine appropriate for use in a general election while living in Chicago, IL. Beranek’s machine presented an array of push buttons to the voter, with one row per office on the ballot and one column per party. Interlocks behind each row prevented voting for more than one candidate per race, and an interlock with the door of the voting booth reset the machine for the next voter as each voter left the booth.
The invention of the machine streamlined voting in the United States, creating a more accurate tally of citizens’ votes. Since 1881, there have been numerous expansions on voting machines such as punched card systems, optical scan systems, and even touch-screen voting machines.