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Voting machines, which were introduced in a few districts in 1973 in an experiment slated for the whole of French territory, did not encounter the success anticipated by their promoters. Yet, they seemed to meet the expectations formulated on this topic since the 19th century – particularly to eradicate certain types of fraud and enable quick, reliable ballot counting. The idea of using voting machines was defeated, not so much by actual concrete failure of the machines, but rather by the practical and political consequences of using them. As long as the use of voting machines was still a project, it was possible to maintain the myth of democratic modernisation. Once they were implemented, electoral practices and roles had to be redefined, implying a new division of electoral work that has yet to be imposed.

Nathalie Dompnier
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