November 13, 2008

That was no computer Walter, just Christmas tree lights in a cardboard box

Discover Magazine has a 20 Things You Didn't Know About...Elections.

Among them:

On election night in 1952, TV viewers saw Walter Cron­kite sitting beside UNIVAC 1, which famously called the race for Eisenhower after only 7 percent of the vote had been tallied.

Not quite. Cronkite sat beside a cardboard panel
with blinking Christmas lights. The real computer was projecting
returns in Pennsylvania.

An intersting story might be a follow up to this item:

16  For the 2006 elections, the Department of Defense
launched a Web-based voting system for overseas military personnel and
American expatriates. The system cost more than $830,000; 63 people
used it to vote.

How many used the system this year? I recall reading that military absentee ballot requests were way up this year. Was it this system or good old fashioned snail mail?

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