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October 31, 2008
From marbles to keystrokes: How the world votes

In 1975, the election in the Democratic Republic of Congo was determined by the volume of applause. Now, the country uses paper ballots.

But many countries have replaced paper ballots with electronic buttons and still others have taken their elections online.

In deciding how they will vote, countries weigh the speed, accuracy, anonymity and security of various technologies.

For some nations, electronic voting machines (EVMs) represent a chance at heightened accuracy, as well as increased participation due to accessibility for illiterate voters. Others retain the traditional paper and pencil, concerned that EVMs will open doors for hackers and put the democratic process at risk.

See our other coverage of the 2008 U.S. election and its global impact. The slideshow below shows voting technology in several countries around the world.

Here are some sample ballots [PDF]: Latvia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Brazil, Albania and Congo.

Sample ballots courtesy of The ACE Electoral Knowledge Network under a Creative Commons license. All photos courtesy of Flickr users under a Creative Commons license. Find Worldfocus on Flickr here and contribute your internationally-themed pictures to our collection.

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Given the indictments of ACORN workers in this country, it would be interesting to follow up with how other countries deal with voting integrity.


Interesting perspective! Afghanistan makes me appreciate the ease at which I vote, even if I’m not happy with either candidate!


Bravo! It’s looking good and I welcome a show about the world, which we are a part of, lest we forget! My evening news is now complete!!

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