SARASOTA – Out on the Siesta Key beach yesterday, employees of Sarasota County’s Parks and Recreation Department were handing out race pennants that they were keeping in a Votomatic ballot box. The Votomatic became famous after the 2000 Presidential election in Florida, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has early prototypes of the machine, as well as a ballot.
Originally made by IBM’s Supplies Division, the Votomatic voting device used IBM punch cards. It weighed approximately six pounds and sold for $185 in 1965. (The BRC stands for Business Records Corporation, a later owner of the brand.)
The Votomatic was invented in the 1960s by Joseph K. Harris, then a professor emeritus of government studies at the university. The Votomatic was introduced in Oregon and California in 1962.