Even though the use of paper ballots for voting dates back to the second century B.C., the first modern voting booth was used in Lockport, New York, in 1892. The booth had a lever that the voter used to draw the curtain for privacy and to cast the vote.
Alfred J. Gillespie invented the standard voting machine at the end of the 19th century. The Standard Voting Machine Company of Rochester, New York manufactured the machines. By 1930, voting booths became present in most U.S. cities, and more than half of the country's population voted by lever by 1960.
Mechanical lever voting machines record the number of people who vote as well as their votes. Access to the voting booth was restricted to a single person, with exceptions being made for voters who require assistance to cast their vote. The last national election for which mechanical lever machines were used was the 1996 presidential election, when computerized voting machines replaced them.
Direct recording electronic voting machines no longer require a ballot. Voters enter their vote on a touch screen. The machines also feature an attached keyboard that allows users to write-in a vote. Voters can change their choice before validating their vote. A light lets the voter know that his choice was recorded.