Several places in the Free World already basically do it this way:
1) Voter uses machine to enter votes. Machine is in a
2) Voting machine spits out a human- and machine-readable paper with votes tallied on it. Machine displays summary of entered votes and maybe an image of what the printout should look like. Voter inspects and verifies his ballot.
3) If the voter decides that the ballot isn't correct, he puts it into another slot in the voting machine, where it is cross-cut shredded and the voter tries again.
4) If the voter approves the ballot, he takes it to the pollworkers' table. There he signs a form declaring that he has inspected and approved the ballot that is about to be put into the ballot box. He keeps one part of the form; the other is put into a box separate from the ballot box (where it can be counted later, to make sure that the number of affidavits and ballots match). There is an ID number on both parts of the form, but that does NOT match or get correlated with any information on the ballot proper....it's just an auditing check.
5) After the polls close, both sealed boxes (ballots and affidavits) get sent to the central counting location, where they are unsealed, counted, and the number of ballots matched against the number of affidavits.
1) If the number of ballots and affidavits for a precinct did NOT match, resolution would be difficult. Even if an electronic record were made by each voting machine as to how many votes had been cast, discrepancies would still risk endangering confidence in the election's integrity.
2) Manual recounts would be entirely practical, though difficult to match against voting-machine electronic records unless identifying/correlating information were added during the counting process - which would have its own set of problems.
I don't think anyone's yet come up with a plan for electronic or electronic-assisted voting thats sufficiently fraudproof and sufficiently idiotproof to trust a real election to it. Americans have learned not to trust "black boxes" in the voting booth, with good reason. While I wouldn't go quite so far as rd232, I am quite confident that highly motivated individuals and organizations are working to perfect his theory. At which point, comparing the US to a third-world banana republic would be even more egregiously unfair than it is already - to the third-world country in question. If we do not have transparent, straightforward, trustable elections, then nobody will trust them - not only the wingnuts on all sides, *everybody*. When that happens -- and if we keep going as we are, it IS 'when', not 'if' -- then the 'great experiment in democracy' will have been conclusively, objectively proven to have failed. Not that the theory is invalid - but in practice, the price of freedom IS eternal vigilance, and what was once the United States of America has been distracted, triangulated, hyperbolized and otherwise marginalized for a generation.