How crisis shaped voting tech the US, and how COVID is doing the same

Soldiers in the Civil War used the latest advancements in military technology. The repeating rifle and improved bullets made it possible to launch deadlier attacks from farther away than before. Early submarines tested the waters of undersea warfare. The telegraph allowed President Abraham Lincoln to get important messages from officers in the field. 



a person standing in front of a building: A voter operates a gear-and-lever voting booth around 1905. The devices laid the foundation for electronic voting machines in use today. Getty Images


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A voter operates a gear-and-lever voting booth around 1905. The devices laid the foundation for electronic voting machines in use today. Getty Images

The advances weren’t limited to battle. The 1864 presidential contest was the first general election held by any nation during a major conflict. In order to vote, Union soldiers relied on two of the most significant developments in American voting: paper ballots and absentee voting. At polling stations in military camps, soldiers from more than a dozen states cast pre-printed tickets that listed candidates from one party or another. Voters

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