On this day 46 years ago, Travis County tried electronic balloting for the first time -- sort of.
As this Austin American-Statesman article from Oct. 11, 1970 notes, Travis County Commissioners only wanted to dip their toes into this then-new concept of electronic voting.
So they voted to allow a company called Steck Warlick Co. to use electronic machines for absentee ballots.
The article explains that voters will still use paper ballots, but will mark their votes in a slightly different way by inserting them into a machine for punching holes. Then after voting, a numbered stub is detached and placed in a box.
The major difference will come in the counting of the votes. Once the voting ballots have been placed in the machine at Steck Warlick the computer can count some 200 cards a minute."
The total cost to the county was estimated to be $100,000.
It's unclear what happened to these Steck Warlick machines, and if they were ever adopted more widely.
We do know, thanks to the American-Statesman archives, that after the 2000 presidential recount fiasco Travis County chose to shift to the type of electronic voting systems that we're familiar with today.
Read the 1970 article for yourself below:
News on Open Source is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of 512tech.com comes with an American-Statesman digital subscription, which also includes myStatesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe at statesman.com/subscribe.