ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES

 

Common Cause has been working on the issue of electronic voting machines as part of our campaign to increase electoral integrity.  The most basic of all democratic principles is that all eligible votes are counted. 

 

The nation must fix the machinery of voting; all voters in all jurisdictions across the country should have reasonable confidence that their votes will be counted accurately.  In the November 2006 election, more than one-third of the states used paperless electronic voting machines, which have been shown to be unreliable and insecure.  Elections officials need to step back and take another look at what is the best technology for voting.  In addition, any voting system must ensure that disabled voters can vote privately and independently, in compliance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.

 

Electronic voting machines are based on software that is, by its nature complex and essentially invisible to those overseeing it.  Further, the machines, especially if not carefully tested and safeguarded, are vulnerable to malicious and nearly undetectable changes in the software.  That is why it is important to have the assurance of a voter-verified paper ballot that can be audited.

 
What is a "voter verified paper ballot" (VVPB)?   This phrase, or variations of it, describes a voting system that allows voters to confirm that their votes are recorded as they intended and that elections officials have a clear confirmation of the voters' intent for counts, audits, and recounts.  Such systems include electronic voting machines with the capacity for printing out a ballot and precinct-based optical scan systems, which allow a voter to mark a paper ballot and then scan it into a counter.

For answers to common questions, please see our frequently asked questions (FAQs) section.

 

Read former Common Cause President Chellie Pingree's testimony before the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.