Title:
Ballot box that can be assembled and disassembled
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A ballot box is disclosed which is susceptible to easily and quickly being assembled and disassembled, without needing accessory elements, instruments or tools of any type. The ballot box has a lower base, four side walls and a cover, all of them formed by means of flat panel elements, the linking between them being carried out by means of the formation of mutually fitting tabs and grooves, and the cover being provided with hinging means integral therewith. In an alternative embodiment, the tabs and grooves of the panels constituting the side walls of the ballot box can be replaced with channeled formations on two opposing walls, susceptible to receiving and housing other flap-like formations carried out on the other two alternate side walls.



Inventors:
Gregorio Gracia, Oscar Rodolfo (Madrid, ES)
Application Number:
10/483801
Publication Date:
09/09/2004
Filing Date:
02/13/2004
Assignee:
GREGORIO GRACIA OSCAR RODOLFO
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D6/24; B65D43/16; G07C13/02; (IPC1-7): B65D6/24
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Primary Examiner:
GROSSO, HARRY A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
C. Bruce Hamburg (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
1. - A mountable and demountable ballot box of the type used for receiving ballot papers, susceptible to being easily and quickly assembled or disassembled without needing to use accessory elements, instruments or tools of any type, characterized in that it is constituted of a base (7) with tabs (9) and grooves (8), four flat panel-like parts (1, 3) for constituting the side walls, of which walls two parts (1) are provided with grooves (2), and the other two parts (3) are provided with grooves (6) and tabs (4), which can be respectively fitted to one another and to the base (7), and a cover (10) provided with tabs (11) constituting hinging means, and with a possible conventional lock (12) completing the locking elements.

2. - A ballot box according to claim 1, characterized in that in an alternative embodiment, the base (7) incorporates a lower stepped area with the formation of channels (8) on its sides, and tabs (17) projecting from the two minor edges of the base, coplanar to the latter; the side panels (1) are provided with grooves (18) made next to their respective lower edge, adapted and dimensioned so as to allow internally housing the tabs (17) of the base (7); the panels (1) constituting the side walls of the ballot box also comprise, in correspondence with their side edges, the formation of pairs of short walls, projecting orthogonally to the panel, parallel to one another, separated so as to give rise to the formation of a channel (19); and the front and rear panels (3) are provided with flaps (20) respectively projecting from each one of their side edges, in a manner coplanar to the panel (3) to which they belong, and arranged in positions such that when the ballot box is assembled, said flaps (20) are housed in the respective adjacent channels (19) of the side wall panels (1) of the ballot box.

Description:

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention refers to a mountable and demountable ballot box providing essential novelty features and significant advantages with regard to the means known and used for the same purposes in the current state of the art.

[0002] More specifically, the invention proposes the development of a ballot box of the type used when carrying out elections of any type, prepared to internally receive the ballot papers used by all those present in the place where it is installed, designed such that it is constituted of a number of individual panels susceptible to mutual linkage, which allow being assembled and disassembled when it is necessary to mount/demount the ballot box, without needing to use any type of fittings, accessories or tools of any type. Furthermore, the design of the panels, particularly the front panel and the panel constituting the cover, is carried out such that they allow incorporating secure closing means preventing unwanted access to the interior, as well as the adaptation, when necessary, of conventional means (electronic, etc.) for counting the number of votes inserted in the ballot box.

[0003] The field of application of the invention is comprised within the sector of public institutions, advertising, marketing, promotional companies, etc., for the purpose of holding elections, lot drawings or the like.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] It is generally known that when elections of any type are held, either for covering vacant posts eligible among several candidates, or for the purpose of political elections, or for any other reason, ballot boxes, generally transparent, provided with an upper cover for opening/closing the ballot box, said upper covers being provided with a slot opening, being rather narrow and suitable in length, through which each voter introduces his/her paper ballet(s), are arranged in the vote collection areas. Once voting has concluded, opening of the upper cover enables accessing the inside of the ballot box to remove, select and count the votes deposited therein.

[0005] Currently existing ballot boxes generally consist of parallelepipedic boxes with considerable dimensions, whereby handling and storage thereof requires considerable space, and furthermore, when elections are carried out, for example political elections, in which a large number of voting areas must be outfitted throughout a territory or an entire country, this implies a very significant investment of transportation time and costs to their placement in the different places chosen for that purpose.

[0006] As a primary objective, the present invention proposes the development of a ballot box intended for said vote collection activity, by means of which all the drawbacks associated to the distribution and use of currently existing ballot boxes are significantly simplified.

[0007] This objective has been completely achieved by means of the ballot box which will be described hereinafter, which is constituted of an assembly of panels intended for constituting the sides, the lower base, and the closure cover of the box, said panels being designed and configured such that they allow mutual coupling, where applicable, such that they can be assembled at the time of voting and disassembled once voting has finished. Thus, handling, transport and storage of the ballot boxes requires considerably less space than that of conventional ballot boxes, with much shorter times and lower costs of transportation than those associated to said conventional ballot boxes.

[0008] According to the invention, the ballot box is configured from four flat side panels, preferably made of a transparent, heavy-duty plastic, which on their respective side edges have groove- and/or tab-like formations prepared for coupling with the tabs and/or grooves provided, respectively, either on the panels constituting the adjacent walls or on the lower base. For its part, in addition to including an elongated narrow groove having a predetermined length, the panel forming the upper closure cover has been provided with integrated hinging elements formed in correspondence with one of its length-wise edges, these hinging elements being susceptible to adaptation in grooves provided for that purpose on the rear side panel, whereas near the opposite edge, the cover panel can include locking means ensuring maintenance of the cover in its closed state during the time it is to be used.

[0009] As an alternative to the previously described embodiment, the panels can be configured such that a part of them is provided on their edges with the formation of a projecting flap, coplanar with the panel to which it belongs, extended along said edges, whereas the panels intended for coupling to the aforementioned ones are provided, in correspondence with their coupling edges, with the formation of a respective channel, orthogonal to the plane of the panel, having a width and length corresponding to the flap they are to internally receive and house. As in the previous case, the closure cover is provided with a groove for inserting the ballot papers, hinging means next to the rear edge, and closing means next to the front edge.

[0010] In either of the alternatives discussed, the ballot box of the invention can include other additional conventional means for the purpose of increasing security or for providing additional information, such as, for example, a lock formed by numerical cylinders or even an electronic code lock, or mechanical or electronic means as well, mounted on the upper cover, for counting the votes inserted inside the ballot box.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] These and other features and advantages of the invention will become more clearly evident from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment, given only as an illustrative and non-limiting example, with reference to the attached drawings in which:

[0012] FIG. 1 shows an exploded perspective view of the different panels constituting the ballot box of the invention according to a first embodiment thereof;

[0013] FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of a ballot box obtained from the elements of FIG. 1, with the upper cover separated and ready to be coupled;

[0014] FIG. 3 shows an exploded perspective view of the elements constituting a ballot box according to an alternative embodiment of the invention, together with two enlarged details, and

[0015] FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of a ballot box obtained from the elements of FIG. 3.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0016] According to the foregoing, the detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention will be carried out hereinafter with the aid of the figures of the attached drawings, throughout which drawings the same numerical references are used to designate equal or similar parts. Thus, first with reference to FIG. 1 of the drawings, an exploded perspective view of the different elements constituting the ballot box of the invention can be seen. As can be seen, the ballot box is obtained from four side panels referenced with numbers 1 and 3, of which two panels 1, constituting the walls of both sides, are provided with grooves 2 in positions near both respective side edges, whereas panels 3, intended for forming the front and rear walls of the ballot box, are provided with tabs 4 projecting from both side edges, coplanar with the panel to which they belong, and grooves 6 in correspondence with the lower positioning edge.

[0017] For its part, a panel 7, intended for constituting the lower base of the ballot box, is configured such that it is provided with an opening 8 on each one of the minor sides, dimensioned such that it allows inserting and receiving the lower edge of panel 1 of that side, as well as upwardly projecting tabs 9 dimensioned such that they allow being inserted in the grooves 6 of the respective front and rear panels 3 when the ballot box is assembled. The front panel 3 is also provided with an opening 5 near its upper edge, intended for cooperating with the closing means of the upper cover, whereas the rear panel 3 is provided with a pair of openings 13 near its upper edge, intended for receiving and housing hinging means associated to the upper cover.

[0018] Said upper cover, constituted of a panel referenced with number 10, is flat, it is provided with a conventional-type opening 14, being somewhat narrow and having a predetermined length, intended for allowing passage of the paper ballots through it towards the internal space of the ballot box, and in relation to its rear edge, it has been provided with hinging means 11, integral therewith, configured and dimensioned so as to be housed in the grooves 13 of said rear panel 3. In relation to the front edge, at a position near the latter, arrangement of a lock 12 has been provided for, the attachment means of which is housed inside the groove 5 made on the front panel 3 when the cover is closed.

[0019] The ballot box can be kept disassembled when not in use, then occupying a reduced space since the entire ballot box is formed by flat panels and, therefore, having a minimum volume. When the ballot box is to be used, its assembly can be carried out without the need of instruments or tools of any type, but rather the operation assembly is easy, fast and susceptible of being carried out manually. For this purpose, to assemble the ballot box it is enough to couple the panels 1, 3 to one another and to the base 7 with the use of the tab-like formations 4 of the front and rear panels 3 to be inserted into the grooves 2 of the side panels 1, the insertion of the lower edges of the side panels 2 into the channels 8 of the base, and the insertion of the tabs 9 of said base 7 into the grooves 6 of the front and rear panels 3. A ballot box, such as the one shown 2, is obtained with this, with a minimum effort and in reduced time.

[0020] Then, the cover 10 (already provided with its corresponding lock 12) is coupled by means of inserting the hinging means 11 into the grooves 13 formed for that purpose on the rear panel 3. The ballot box is thereby prepared for use. Furthermore, as will be understood, disassembly is equally simple and fast, by repeating the same operations as before, but only in a reverse order.

[0021] Referring now to the representation in FIG. 3, an exploded perspective view of the elements involved in a ballot box corresponding to an alternative embodiment of the invention can be seen. As in the first embodiment described, the ballot box comprises two panels 1 intended for forming the side walls, two panels 3 intended for providing the front and rear walls of the ballot box, a panel 7 constituting the lower base, and a panel 10 intended for forming the upper cover of the ballot box. The rear panel 3 is provided with grooves 13 next to its upper edge for receiving the hinging means 11 incorporated by the upper cover panel 10, whereas in this case, it was preferred to show the option corresponding to the use of closing means constituted of a lock of the numerical cylinder type, referenced with number 15, and a foldable latching element, referenced with number 16, and incorporated on the front edge of the upper cover 10.

[0022] In this embodiment, the linkage between panels constituting the four side walls and the base and/or cover, is carried out with the aid of mutual coupling tabs, grooves, flaps and channeled formations. In effect, if looking at the different views of FIG. 3, it can be seen that in addition to the channels 8, the base 7 is provided with outwardly projecting tabs 17 on two minor sides, coplanar with the actual base 7, whereas the panels 1 constituting the minor sides of the ballot box are provided with grooves 18 near their lower edge, in a position correspondingly facing said tabs 17, whereas along both side edges they are provided with short, orthogonal walls, parallel to and separated from one another for the formation of a channel 19 on either side; for their part, the panels 3 intended for constructing the front and rear walls of the ballot box are provided with outwardly projecting flaps 20 in correspondence with each one of their side edges, coplanar to the actual panel to which they belong, and formed such that they face the respective adjacent channel 19 of the side wall panel 1. In these conditions, and according to the different successive assembly phases shown in FIG. 3, obtaining the mounted ballot box appearing in FIG. 4 is attained with the coupling of lower edges of the front and rear panels 3 in the perimetral, stepped, channeled portion of the base 7, and the subsequent coupling of each side panel 1 after inserting the tabs 17 projecting from the base 7 into the grooves 18 carried out on each mentioned panel 1, and then taking each side panel 1 to its upright position, such that the flaps 20 of each front and rear panel 3 are housed inside the channels 19 formed in both mentioned side panels 1. Detail D1 shows an enlarged view of the coupling between a tab 17 of the base 7 and a groove 18 of a side panel 1.

[0023] Then, coupling of the cover is carried out by simply inserting the hinging means 11 in the grooves 13 made for that purpose next to the upper edge of the rear wall 3, the assembly thereby being ready for use. Detail D2 shows an enlarged view of the insertion of the hinging means 11, integral with the cover 10, into the inside of a groove 13 of the rear wall 3.

[0024] As will be understood, to carry out the disassembly of the ballot box, as in the case of the first embodiment discussed, it is enough to carry out the same operations as for the assembly but in a reverse order.

[0025] On the other hand, the definition of the positions of the grooves, tabs, flaps and channels set forth in the foregoing and which are represented in the drawings, should not be interpreted as limiting of the invention, since said positions could be reversed, obtaining the same results.

[0026] It is not deemed necessary to extend the content of this description so that a person skilled in the art can understand its scope and the advantages derived from the invention, as well as to develop and carry out into practice the object thereof.

[0027] However, it must be understood that the invention has been described according to a preferred embodiment thereof, as a result of which it is susceptible to modifications without implying any alteration whatsoever of the basis of said invention, said modifications being able to especially affect the shape, size and/or the manufacturing materials of the assembly or of its parts.