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Marksense (Optical Scan)

Marksense systems employ a ballot card on which candidates and issue choices are preprinted next to an empty rectangle, circle, oval, or an incomplete arrow. Voters record their choices by filling in the rectangle, circle or oval, or by completing the arrow. After voting, the voters either place the ballot in a sealed box or feed it into a computer tabulating device at the precinct. The tabulating device reads the votes using "dark mark logic," whereby the computer selects the darkest mark within a given set as the correct choice or vote. Marksense technology has existed for decades and been used extensively in such areas as standardized testing and statewide lotteries.

Although marksense systems are often referred to as "optical scan," marksense technology is only one of several methods for recognizing marks on paper through optical reading techniques.

Marksense systems were used by 24.6% of registered voters in the United States for the 1996 Presidential election, and their use is on the rise.