Key Facts for 2016

99.5% of votes will be counted by software

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

Learn More at The Verifier

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%
Total  176,356,989 100%

For More information Visit our Voting Equipment Resource Page

One half of the states will conduct post election audits

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.

Better Late Than Never
Susan Bucher

Susan Bucher

In the March 13, 2012 municipal election in the village of Wellington in PalmBeach County Florida, two losing candidates were declared winners by the Dominion’s winEDS software, which incorrectly swapped totals among candidates. The problem was discovered during a post-election ballot audit, but the correct results were determined only after a court-sanctioned hand count of the paper ballots. But Florida’s audit’s law only allows such an audit after an election has been certified – once it is too late and  after the wrong candidate had been declared the  winner based on incorrect results.

Palm Beach County Supervisor Susan Bucher, one a several local election officials that are critical of Florida’s audit law, observed “[w]hat we’re finding out, is that there are problems with almost every system in the United States. This issue is leaving some supervisors to shake their heads about the machines their constituents are voting on and how paper ballots in just random races will ever be checked.”

Learn More About Post Election Audits

33 States require a voter verified paper record

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.

Learn More at our Legislation Page

Disappearing Votes in New Mexico

In November 2004 New Mexico led the nation in undervotes, ballots cast with no vote for any of the Presidential candidates. The undervotes were concentrated on two types of machines, the Danaher Shouptronic 1242 and the Sequoia AVC Advantage, both Push Button Direct Recording Electronic machines. Using these machines, some precincts had undervotes rates of nearly 50% and Santa Fe County overall had an undervote rate of almost 10% – on these machines. While there was resistance from the State’s Canvassing Board to a recount, bu 2006 New Mexico had replaced all their DREs and replaced them with a uniform statewide paper ballot system. Shouptronics and Advantages will be counting votes in eight states this November.6

30 States allow some voters to vote by email or fax

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.

Learn More at our Internet Voting Page

Bender and the DC Internet Voting Hack

Bender Bending Rodríguez

The District of Columbia’s pilot project for Internet voting for overseas and military voters has been scaled back to allow only electronic delivery of blank ballots to voters (though voted ballots may be e-mailed or faxed). In October 2010, DC’s pilot Internet voting system for overseas and military voters was hacked in dramatic fashion by University of Michigan researchers who changed votes on submitted ballots, discovered voters’ personal information – and who observed users in Iran and China attempting to break into the system. They also elected Futurama’s Bender Bending Rodríguez to the school board.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Registration data is from November 2014, Voting technology is current as of November 2015.
  4. AR, FL, NJ, and VA
  5. Virginia’s statute requires a transition to optically scanned paper ballots. New Jersey’s statute allows printer retrofits.
  6. Ellen Theisen and Warren Stewart, Summary Report on New Mexico State Election Data, 2004