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Q: Previous voting records ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Previous voting records
Category: Relationships and Society > Politics
Asked by: bigsticks-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 07 Oct 2003 09:15 PDT
Expires: 06 Nov 2003 08:15 PST
Question ID: 263475
Is there any way I can find out how I voted in previous elections
(I've lived in IL and CA)?
Subject: Re: Previous voting records
Answered By: knowledge_seeker-ga on 07 Oct 2003 10:56 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
No bigsticks, 

I’m afraid unless YOU recorded the information somewhere there is no
way to find out how you voted in any previous election.

The United States guarantees voters the right to a secret ballot. This
means that there is no record that correlates you with how you voted.

When you step into a voting booth and flip the levers, your votes are
added to the cumulative votes of all the people who went before you.
When you finish voting and pull the handle that opens the voting
booth, all the levers you flipped are returned to their original
position and your vote is recorded. At the end of the voting day, the
machine is locked and tallied and then sealed for 30 days in case a
recount is called for.

Since you have to be registered to vote and must show ID to prove your
eligibility before you cast your ballot, there would be a record on
file in the jurisdiction where you voted that indicates that you DID
vote. But there will be no record of HOW you voted.

Here is some further information on voting and secret ballots. 

 “…voting machines furnish no tangible evidence of the voters'
intentions beyond the recorded totals…”




And here is where you can find more information specific to each of
the states where you lived:



Hope this information helps you out. 


search terms: 

“secret ballot”
“voter rights” “secret ballot”

Request for Answer Clarification by bigsticks-ga on 08 Oct 2003 09:01 PDT
Great answer! However, you mention flipping levers and pulling a
handle that opens the voting booth. Maybe the procedure is different
where you live (?), because when I've voted we simply punch holes in a
card and turn in the card.

Clarification of Answer by knowledge_seeker-ga on 08 Oct 2003 09:40 PDT
Gosh, you know what ... you're right! 

I should have addressed the punch card ballot as well. (After that
whole "chad" issue in Florida last election, I should have thought of

After you filled out your punch card, you should have been instructed
to enclose the card in a blank envelope before the judge of election
official took it from you. That envelope is your assurance that nobody
can see or change who you voted for.

Here's a good illustration of the procedure brought to you by the good
folks of the state of Illinois --

How to Vote a Punch Card Ballot

Thank you for the kind words and lovely rating. I'm glad you were
pleased with my answer.

bigsticks-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Previous voting records
From: ericbee-ga on 07 Oct 2003 09:28 PDT
Your personal voting record is not filed with any government
organization. If you registered as a Democrat, Repunblican, etc., that
information is on file, but there is no way to obtain a list of
specific candidates you voted for in the past.
Subject: Re: Previous voting records
From: slim63-ga on 24 Dec 2004 06:30 PST
I'm trying to find out if I DID vote in a previous election. I voted
by absentee ballot in Florida in 2000 and I've always assumed that my
vote was counted. But with recent news I've been hearing about the
Wash. governors election, I'm beginning to wonder: The reason they
discovered that 700 ballots were not counted was because a
high-ranking Washington official noticed his name on the list of
voters whose votes were disqualified and never counted. The balots
weretotally legitimate, but they weren't counted because some of the
poll workers made a mistake. Now I wonder if MY absentee ballot was
disqualified or not.

How can I find out if my absentee ballot was accepted/counted?

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