72% of American voters will use voter-marked paper ballots to cast their votes in November 2016. These ballots will be scanned but are available for a hand count in an audit or recount.1
50% of the voters live where paper ballots are the sole voting method and accessible ballot marking devices serve voters with disabilities.
22% live in areas where voter-marked paper ballots are the standard voting system and direct recording electronic voting machines are deployed for accessibility.
22% of the nation’s registered voters will have to use direct recording electronic voting machines on Election Day without a voter-verifiable paper audit trail.2
Nationwide Voting Equipment by Registered Voters3
|Equipment Type||Registered Voters||Percentage|
|DREs with no Voter-Verifiable Paper Record||38,009,923||21.55%|
|DREs with a Voter-Verifiable Paper Record||9,191,205||5.21%|
|Voter-marked Paper Ballots/Ballot Scanners and DREs with No Paper Record||15,656,670||8.88%|
|Voter-marked Paper Ballots/Ballot Scanners and DREs with Paper Record||25,158,515||14.27%|
|Voter-marked Paper Ballots/Ballot Scanners and/or hand count**||88,340,676||50.09%|
Hand-counted audits of machine tallies are essential to verified elections; without audits, paper ballots or paper records add little security value.
Some planned audits will be weak audits, such as in Florida, where the audit will be conducted after the election is certified, and only one item on a large general election ballot will be chosen randomly in each county.
13 states that now have voter-verifiable paper records for all voting systems will not conduct post-election hand audits.
2 State (California New Mexico) will conduct risk-limiting audits.
A voter verified paper record may be a paper ballot, or it may be a printout that the voter can view before she casts her ballot on a DRE voting machine.
40 states have moved toward requiring voter-verified paper records (VVPR), either through legislation or administrative decision. 4 states will not fully implement their VVPR requirements until some time after the 2016 election4
3 states are now mostly or entirely paperless but have enacted laws to end the use of direct-recording electronic voting machines, or fund their replacement: MD, NJ, TN, and VA.5
Tennessee repealed a required transition to paper ballots in 2011, but current law requires the state to provide counties with funds to replace DREs with optical scan equipment and ballot marking devices for voters with disabilities.
2 States (Alaska and Arizona) allow some voters to return voted ballots through a web portal in addition to email and fax.
22 States plus the District of Columbia allow some voters to return voted ballots by fax or email attachment.
7 States allow some voters to return voted ballots by fax.
19 States prohibit insecure electronic return of voted ballots. These States instead serve their military and overseas citizens by employing common-sense practices such as electronically transmitting blank ballots to voters. Some states also may extend the deadline for accepting ballots from abroad.
- In 34 states, voter-marked paper ballots counted by ballot scanners will account for most or all votes. 19 states will use voter-marked paper ballots statewide. In 13 states and DC, optical scan voting will account for the majority of ballots: AK, AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, IL, HI, KY, MO, NC, WA, WI, and WY. ↩
- In 10 states, paperless voting accounts for most or all Election Day ballots. Five states will still have paperless e-voting statewide: DE, GA, LA, NJ, and SC. In five states, paperless voting counts for a majority of votes: IN, PA, TX, TN, and VA. In KS, we estimate that at least 40% of the vote is paperless. ↩
- Registration data is from November 2014, Voting technology is current as of November 2015. ↩
- AR, FL, NJ, and VA ↩
- Virginia’s statute requires a transition to optically scanned paper ballots. New Jersey’s statute allows printer retrofits. ↩
- Ellen Theisen and Warren Stewart, Summary Report on New Mexico State Election Data, 2004 ↩