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MIT Technology Review

Clean Slate

The blizzard of chads from last year’s presidential election prompted numerous calls for electronic touch-screen voting. But such devices have their own vulnerabilities. In particular, a mere scratch on the sensitive screen can cause a breakdown-and on election day, failure is not an option.

Enter the eSlate, made by Hart InterCivic of Austin, TX. To make a selection, the voter turns a small wheel; there’s no need to touch the screen. Neglecting to pick a candidate triggers an alert message; the device also makes it impossible to select multiple candidates for the same office. A voter can review the ballot before officially casting it. The legal-pad-sized eSlate can also be configured to allow voting access for nonreaders and for disabled voters. Texas and Colorado have certified eSlate for use in elections; several other states are reviewing it. Dell Computer has signed on as a distribution and marketing partner.