A computerized voting system has a central computer, regional computers and voting modules connected to a data transfer link for communication with one another. The voting modules access the central computer database under control of the central computer control center. Voter data is created at one of the voting modules and communicated to the database for storage. Input voter data for a given voter at any one of the plurality of voting modules during an election is compared to the stored data for the given voter to verify that the given voter is eligible to vote. Access to the stored voter data for the given voter during an election is restricted to prevent the given voter from voting more than once during the election.
TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention pertains generally to a voting machine, and, more particularly, to a method and apparatus for positive identification of voters to prevent duplicate or fraudulent voting. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Voting machines have been used for years to accept, record and tabulate votes cast during an election so that election results can be available in a matter of a few hours instead of the several hours or days that were once necessary. Voting machines have eliminated some voting irregularities, such as the problem of stuffing ballot boxes, that existed with paper ballots. More modem voting machines can tabulate votes and have election results available within a few minutes after the polls are closed. While modern voting machines speed the voting process, problems still exist. One problem is ensuring that the person voting is actually the registered person entitled to vote and not an impostor. Sometimes, voter identification is not checked at the polling place. At other times, identification is verified by comparing a voter's vehicle driver's license or passport against the registered voter list. While this process is helpful, a driver's license picture does not always clearly resemble the person, and it does not guard against a forged driver's license or passport. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that it would be highly desirable to have a form of identification that is more definitive than a driver's license or passport photograph. Another problem is ensuring that a voter votes only once. Sometimes, a voter's name is checked against the registered voter list at the single polling place where the voter is entitled to vote. While helpful, it does not eliminate the problem because a person's name may fail to appear on the voter's list for a number of reasons. When a name fails to appear, a voting official calls to determine whether a person is entitled to vote. When a person changes addresses resulting in a change of polling places and his name is omitted from the list at the new polling place, a call is made and the person allowed to vote at the new place. Sometimes, when the name is absent from the list at the new voting place, it is still on the list at the old voting place which makes it possible for a person to vote twice. In some places, a voter may vote at any one of several polling places thereby creating the potential for a voter to cast multiple votes. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that it would be highly desirable to have a master voter list to which individual voter lists at polling sites are linked to prevent duplicate voting. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is directed to overcoming one or more of the problems set forth above. Briefly summarized, according to one aspect of the invention, a computerized voting system comprises a central computer having a control center and a database, a data transfer link connected to the central computer, a plurality of voting modules connected to the central computer via the data transfer link and accessing the database under control of the control center, means for creating voter data at one of the plurality of voting modules...