Title:
VOTING BOOTH
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A voting booth (10), comprising: a case (95) having a top portion (100) hingedly connected to a bottom portion (110); a plurality of legs (20) removably secured to the top portion (100); a plurality of legs (20) removably secured to the bottom portion (110); the legs (20) capable of being stored between a leg retainer (210) and at least one of a top portion surface (102) and a bottom portion surface (112); a 3-panel unit (170) capable or being stored within the case (95), and the 3-panel unit capable of being removably secured to a top portion surface (102) and a bottom portion surface (112); and a plurality of single unit side panels (150) capable of being stored within the case (95) and capable of being removably secured to the top portion surface (102) and the bottom portion surface 112.



Inventors:
Delongchamp, Jeff (Grand Rapids, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/211179
Publication Date:
03/18/2010
Filing Date:
09/16/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B46/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GALLEGO, ANDRES F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBERT J. SAYFIE, P.C. (GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A voting booth (10), comprising: a case (95) having a top portion (100) hingedly connected to a bottom portion (110); a plurality of legs (20) removably secured to said top portion (100); a plurality of legs (20) removably secured to said bottom portion (110); said legs (20) capable of being stored between a leg retainer (210) and at least one of a top portion surface (102) and a bottom portion surface (112); a 3-panel unit (170) capable or being stored within said case (95), and said 3-panel unit capable of being removably secured to a top portion surface (102) and a bottom portion surface (112); and a plurality of single unit side panels (150) capable of being stored within said case (95) and capable of being removably secured to said top portion surface (102) and said bottom portion surface 112.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a handle (70) formed from an aperture corresponding portions of the top portion (100) and bottom portion (110), whereby a person can place a hand through said handle (70) to hold and carry the case (95).

3. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a hinge (140) connected to the top portion (100) and the bottom portion (100); said hinge (140) disposed opposite the handle (70), whereby the top portion (100) and bottom portion (110) can be opened and closed via the hinge (140).

4. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a snap lock (90) that engages with a snap catch (160) to retain the case (95) in a closed position; said snap lock (90) can be moved away from said snap catch (160) to unlock the case (95) so that it may be opened.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the leg (20) has a leg top portion (190) that is removably connected to a leg bottom portion (200) via an elastic band (230) disposed within each leg, whereby said leg top portion (190) is pulled toward said leg bottom portion (200) via said elastic band (230).

6. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a leg retainer (210) disposed on the inside of the top portion (100), said leg retainer (210) disposed away from a top portion surface (102) so that a folded leg (20) may be disposed between said leg retainer (210) and said top portion surface (102).

7. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: said 3-panel unit (170) having a 3-panel unit tab extension (172) extending downwardly therefrom, said 3-panel unit tab extension (172) capable of engaging with a corresponding 3-panel unit tab receiver (174) that is disposed in a top portion surface (102) and a separate 3-panel unit (170) having said 3-panel unit tab extension (172) that is capable of engaging with a corresponding 3-panel unit tab receiver (174) that is disposed in a bottom surface (112), so that either of said 3-panel unit (170) may be securely positioned and removed via the engagement of said 3-panel unit tab extension (172) with said 3-panel unit tab receiver (174).

8. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: said single unit (180) having a single unit side panel (150) that has a tab extension (152) extending downwardly therefrom, said tab extension (152) capable of securely removably engaging with a tab receiver (154), said tab receiver (154) disposed on said bottom portion surface (112).

9. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: said 3-panel unit (170) is comprised of a rear panel (50) hingedly connected and between two side panels (30), whereby said 3-panel unit (170) can be placed in a closed position for storage and transport, or opened up and removably positioned into a 3-panel tab receiver (174).

Description:

GOVERNMENT RIGHTS

This invention was not made with Government support under. The Government does not have any rights in this invention.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Voting is a cornerstone of democracy. In the 2004 United States presidential election, the voting booth and/or its components became an important issue in the accuracy of voting in Florida. Although a voting booth may be erected for the day that the polls are open, one booth may have hundreds of voters. Accurate voting in the United States requires privacy. Thus, a voting booth that offers privacy is needed.

Efficiency in the usage of space at the voting area is important, as voting areas comprise many different places, such as school lobbies, church lobbies, other confined areas, or larger venues. Thus, a design that is novel in its structure and function in space efficiency is needed.

When the booth is not erected and being used, it must be transported and stored. Thus, a design that is novel in its structure and function for transporting and storing is needed.

As can be seen, there is a need for a voting booth that has improved transport and storage capability. There is further a need for a convertible voting booth that can convert from a dual voting booth, to a singular voting booth.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An aspect of the present invention comprises a voting booth (10), comprising: a case (95) having a top portion (100) hingedly connected to a bottom portion (110); a plurality of legs (20) removably secured to said top portion (100); a plurality of legs (20) removably secured to said bottom portion (110); said legs (20) capable of being stored between a leg retainer (210) and at least one of a top portion surface (102) and a bottom portion surface (112); a 3-panel unit (170) capable or being stored within said case (95), and said 3-panel unit capable of being removably secured to a top portion surface (102) and a bottom portion surface (112); and a plurality of single unit side panels (150) capable of being stored within said case (95) and capable of being removably secured to said top portion surface (102) and said bottom portion surface 112.

In one further embodiment, the voting booth 10 may have an illumination source, such as a light emitting diode (LED) 240 disposed near the handle 70 on the top portion 100.

The present invention may be made from recycled plastic.

These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following drawings, description and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective of one embodiment of the present invention where the case 95 is folded out to form two voting booths;

FIG. 2 is a perspective of an embodiment showing the 3-panel unit 170 folded in a stowed position, and the legs 20 stowed in the between the leg retainer 210 and the top portion 100;

FIG. 3 is a perspective of the 3-panel unit 170 in an open position;

FIG. 4 is a perspective of the 3-panel unit 170 in a closed position;

FIG. 5 is a perspective of the case 95 in a closed position;

FIG. 6 is a perspective of the case 95 bottom side 40, also referred to herein as the leg receiving side 40;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view of line 7 from FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a perspective of five cases 95 stacked next to each other;

FIG. 9A, 9B, and 9C are perspective views of several booths 10 showing varied configurations of the 3-panel unit 170;

FIG. 10 is a perspective of the single unit 180 configuration;

FIG. 11A, 11B, and 11C are perspective views of the leg in the folded (11A), partially folded/unfolded (11B), and unfolded (11C) position; and

FIG. 12 is a perspective of the case 95 with legs 20 in the stowed position, and the side panels 150 in the stored position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The following detailed description is of the best currently contemplated modes of carrying out the invention. The description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for illustrating the general principles of the invention, since the scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims.

REFERENCE NUMERALS

10 voting booth or voting booth assembly

20 leg

30 side panel or privacy screen

40 leg receiving side

50 rear panel

60 leg socket

70 handle

80 case hinge

90 snaplock

92 detent

95 case

100 top portion

102 top portion surface

104 facing direction

110 bottom portion

112 bottom portion surface

120 detent

130 leg receiving cup

140 hinge

150 single unit side panel

152 tab extension

153 vertical tab extension

154 tab receiver

155 vertical tab extension receiver

160 snap catch

170 3-panel unit

172 3-panel unit tab extension

174 3-panel unit tab receiver

180 top-bottom unit or single unit

190 leg top portion

200 leg bottom portion

210 leg retainer

212 leg retainer opening

220 groove

230 elastic band

300 single case width

310 stack of 5 cases width

FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of the present invention voting booth 10 or voting booth assembly 10. Two booths 10 are illustrated. The two booths 10 can be folded and held in one case 95, as illustrated in FIG. 2.

When assembled and useful as a voting booth 10 or voting booths 10, the voting booths 10 comprise legs 20 to support an unfolded case 95. The unfolded case 95 may have a bottom portion 110, hingedly connected to a top portion 100 via a case hinge 80. Referring to FIG. 11, the legs 20 may be foldable by having a leg top portion 190 and a leg bottom portion 200, that can come apart and be stored between the top portion 100 and a leg retainer 210. The leg 20 may have an elastic band 230 inside the hollow leg 20 that may pull the leg top portion 190 toward the leg bottom portion 200 so they do not fall apart from each other; and so the leg top portion 190 may be stored adjacent to the leg bottom portion 200.

The legs 20 may be inserted in a leg receiving cup 130. The leg receiving cup may extend away from the leg to form a leg socket 60, (best seen in FIG. 7) to support the top portion 100 and the bottom portion 110. A 3-panel unit 170 may be placed on a top portion surface 102. The 3-panel unit 170 may be placed on a bottom portion top surface 112. Thus, the voting booth assembly 10 may be two voting booths 10, as seen in FIG. 1. This voting booth assembly can be carried and stored in one case 95, as seen in FIG. 2.

As seen in FIG. 3, the 3-panel unit 170 may have a rear panel 50 hingedly connected to a side panel 30 on each side, so that the rear panel 50 is disposed between two side panels 30. Each side panel 30 may be hingedly connected to the rear panel 50 so that the 3-panel unit can fold up (as seen in FIG. 4) and be stored in the bottom portion 110 as illustrated in FIG. 2. The case 95 may be closed by closing the top portion 100 with respect to the bottom portion 110, as shown in FIG. 5. A snap lock 90 may be capable of keeping the case 95 closed by snap locking the top portion 100 to the bottom portion 110, as illustrated in FIG. 5. Typically, the snap lock 90 (as seen on the top portion 100) is engaged with a detent 92 to close the case 95. To open the case 95, one may mull the snap lock 90 away from the detent 92, as the material of the snap lock 90 is typically a slightly flexible or bendable plastic. FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment by which the 3-panel unit 170 may be removably secured to the top portion 100 and a separate 3-panel unit 170 may be secured to the bottom portion 110. A 3-panel unit tab extension 172 may extend from an edge of the side panel 30 or rear panel 50, to snap into corresponding 3-panel unit tab receivers disposed on the top portion 100 and bottom portion 110.

FIG. 6 illustrates the case 95 leg receiving side 40, of either the top portion 100 or bottom portion 110, as the leg receiving side 40 may be the same for each the top portion 100 and the bottom portion 100. A groove 220 may be manufactured into the leg receiving side 40 to provide extra support to the otherwise substantially flat surface of the leg receiving side 40.

FIG. 7 illustrates a leg 20 secured in a leg receiving cup 130, which is part of the leg socket 60. As illustrated in FIG. 7, the leg 20 may be oriented in a non perpendicular angle with respect to the floor.

FIG. 8 illustrates how the cases 95 can be stored or transported, as positioned next to each other. As illustrated in FIG. 8, the width 300 of a closed case 95 may be about 3.6 inches wide. So about 5 cased would be about 18 inches in width 310.

FIG. 9 illustrates three different voting booths 10, each having a top portion 100, foldably connected to a bottom portion 110, and a variety of different arrangements of 3-panel units 170. FIG. 9A show one arrangement of the 3-panel units 170, where each unit 170 faces the same direction, and the person voting would approach from the left side. FIG. 9B illustrates a different arrangement, where on voter (in the upper part of the Figure) would approach from the right, and the other from the left. FIG. 9C illustrates another arrangement whereby one user would be positioned facing downwardly, the other upwardly.

FIG. 10 illustrates an embodiment of the present invention whereby the top portion 100 and the bottom portion 110 are configured as one single unit 180, also referred to herein as a top-bottom unit 180. One case 95 unfolds to create the single unit 180. This configuration does not use the 3-panel unit 170. However, it does have a single unit side panel 150 that has a tab extension 152 that can snap into tab receiver 154, as seen in FIGS. 10 and 12. The leg socket 60 is illustrated with the legs 20 disposed therein. The handle 70 is shown, as the handle 70 may be a hollow cut out in both the top portion 100 and the bottom portion 110.

FIG. 12 illustrates the single unit 180 with the single unit side panels 150 removed and placed within the case 95 for storage. In FIG. 12, the side panels 150 are shown placed in the bottom portion 110. The legs 20 are shown as folded and placed in a leg retainer 210, that may be disposed away from the top portion surface 102 so that a leg 20 may be removably disposed between said leg retainer 210 and the top portion surface 102. The legs 20 can be slid in or out of the leg retainer opening 212.

As illustrated in FIG. 12, a vertical tab extension receiver 155 may be disposed or formed from the leg retainer 210. The vertical tab extension receiver may retain and hold a vertical tab extension 153, as illustrated in FIG. 11. The vertical tab extension 153 may extend rearwardly from the single unit side panel 150.

FIG. 12 also shows the tab extensions 152 and the corresponding tab receivers 154 for the single unit 180 configuration.

It should be understood, of course, that the foregoing relates to exemplary embodiments of the invention and that modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims.