The first direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machine that was used in an election was patented on Feb. 19, 1974 and was called the Video Voter. It did not contain a computer but relied on projected light and phototransistors.
Electronic voting machines and punch cards had the worst records of counting votes of the five voting systems used in the 2000 US Presidential election with approximately 3% of votes cast on electronic voting machines not being counted.
In 2004, Maryland owned 16,000 Diebold AccuVote-TS electronic voting machines, each with two locked bays to protect the machines from tampering. The locks on the machines were identical, and they could all be opened by the same key.
The average cost of a typical direct recording electronic voting machine is between $2,500 and $3,500. In 2004, Maryland purchased 16,000 machines for $55.6 million, equalling $3,475 per machine. A disabled-accessible voter-verified paper ballot printer could add as much as $1,000 per voting station.
Electronic voting machine manufacturer Diebold Inc. and its executives contributed $409,170 to Republicans between 2001 and Sep. 2004, while contributing $2,500 to Democrats in the same time frame.
Touch screen electronic voting machines that include an audio interface allow the visually-impaired to vote without assistance. Alternative voting systems such as punch card and mechanical lever require visually-impaired voters to seek assistance.
From 1996 to 2010, Dr. Michael Shamos offered a $10,000 prize in The DRE Tampering Challenge to anyone who could hack an electronic voting machine so that it did not count votes properly and so those alterations were undetectable. No one accepted the challenge.
Over 100,000 votes were not counted by the iVotronic voting system during the Nov. 2006 Florida election according to the Florida Fair Elections Center.