- Voting News
Verified Voting Statement on Ballot Marking Devices and Risk-limiting Audits – December 17, 2019
This statement is intended to clarify Verified Voting’s position regarding the use of ballot-marking devices (BMDs) in elections, and the use of risk-limiting audits (RLAs). It is approved by the President, Board of Directors, and Staff of Verified Voting.
Verified Voting believes that voters should vote on paper ballots, but we recognize an important distinction between hand-marked and machine-marked ballots. Hand-marked paper ballots are not subject to inaccuracies or manipulation from software bugs or malicious code. In contrast, machine-marked paper ballots produced using BMDs might not accurately capture voter intent if the software or ballot configuration is buggy or malicious.
Verified Voting specifically opposes the purchase and deployment of new voting systems in which all in-person voters in a polling place are expected to use BMDs. The trustworthiness of an election conducted using BMDs depends critically on how many voters actually verify their ballots, and how carefully they do it. All voters who vote on BMDs should be made aware of the importance of carefully and conscientiously verifying their ballots before casting them, and should be actively encouraged to do so. However, empirical research thus far shows that few voters using BMDs carefully verify their printed ballots. Moreover, if voters do verify BMD-marked ballots and find what they believe are discrepancies, there is no reliable way to resolve whether the voters made mistakes or the BMDs did. For these and other reasons (such as cost) Verified Voting recommends that the use of BMDs be minimized.
Making Every Vote Count: A Practical Guide to Risk-Limiting Audits
With the spotlight on election security, election administrators need tools to provide voters with confidence in all stages of our electoral system. Join election officials, cybersecurity experts, policy makers, and others for a practical overview of cutting-edge post-election audits, which provide statistical confidence in election outcomes. As election officials across the country continue to look for opportunities to make their systems and procedures more secure before the 2020 election, what should election officials know about risk-limiting audits? What are they? What tools are necessary? How do they work in states with different voting systems? How much do they cost? We’ll tackle these topics and more.
The New York Times published an interactive piece on election security including a video featuring Verified Voting fellow Alex Halderman. The piece was the result of a months-long collaboration between Verified Voting and the New York Times.
Verified Voting provides resources that allow you to find what voting equipment is used in each State, how the equipment works and laws and regulations in place across the country to promote transparent and verifiable elections. Click below to visit The Verifier interactive map, and our pages devoted to Voting Equipment, Post-Election Audits and Internet Voting.
Verified Voting’s mission is safeguarding elections in the digital age. As a non-partisan organization working for accuracy, integrity and verifiability of elections, we work to ensure that the voice of those who understand technology are at the table when decisions about the use of technology in elections are being made. Verified Voting consists of two entities: VerifiedVoting.org and the Verified Voting Foundation. Click below to learn more.
In July 2012, the Verified Voting Foundation, Common Cause and the Rutgers University Law School released Counting Votes 2012: A State by State Look at Election Preparedness that reviews how prepared each state is to ensure that every eligible voter can vote, and that every vote is counted as cast. Does your State require paper ballots or records of every state? Does your State have contingency plans in the event of machine failure? Does your State protect military and overseas voters by ensuring that marked ballots are not cast online? Has your State instituted a post-election audit? Does your State use robust ballot reconciliation and tabulation practices? See how your State ranks.
There is widespread pressure around the country today for the introduction of some form of Internet voting in public elections that would allow people to vote online, all electronically, from their own personal computers or mobile devices. Proponents argue that Internet voting would offer greater speed and convenience, particularly for overseas and military voters and, in fact, any voters allowed to vote that way. However, computer and network security experts are virtually unanimous in pointing out that online voting is an exceedingly dangerous threat to the integrity of U.S. elections. There is no way to guarantee that the security, privacy, and transparency requirements for elections can all be met with any practical technology in the foreseeable future. Find out more at our Internet Voting Resource Page.