Paper or No Paper?

JP, in the post below, says he is still in favor of a paper trail for the electronic voting machines. And this is my favorite ad from the last political primary season:

Now, my question for paper trail advocates (full disclosure: I go back and forth on the issue) is this: should we use the machines to count the vote or use the paper receipts to count? I think using the paper receipts will bring in an element of human error that otherwise would not exist.


Technorati Tags: Diebold, Elections, electronic voting, paper trail


  1. VSUguy says:

    I think the recipts should be used the same way a recipt is used in a purchase, as a record of how you did what you did.

  2. Chris says:

    The recipts should only be used in two scenarios:

    1) If the votes are close and one party requests a paper recount (perhaps at their own expense)

    2) Random precints across the state are audited and the paper vote totals are compared to the electronic totals. This will give assurance that there was no systematic alteration of the code inside the voting machine.

  3. Chris says:

    The other way to do it, and I haven’t heard anyone suggest this, is to make the electronic machines the voter interface which then prints out a human & computer readable ballot. That paper ballot is then placed in a ballot box like before and is the only record of the vote.

  4. Michael C says:

    Chris, you’re last suggestion gets us back to the “hanging chad fiasco” of 2000. Even if it is some type of computer generated scantron there are still problems because there is still a margin of error when tallying the votes.

    I would like a paper trail that provides 2 copies one for the voter and one for backup if needed in close races to verify electronic results.

    I do like you audit idea.

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