Paper Records

Paper records are the foundation for trustworthy elections.

About Paper Records

Why do we need paper records in this high-tech world? Because we need a way to make sure that the computers counted our votes correctly.

Ninety-nine percent of America’s votes are counted by computers, and security experts agree that computers are susceptible to hacking, malfunctions, and errors. This is why voter-verified paper ballots should always be used: they create tangible and auditable records of votes cast in an election. Some machines mark ballots and produce paper records. Paper trails help provide a reliable way to check that the computers were not compromised (whether through human error or malfeasance). Voting systems that record votes directly on electronic devices or transmit results over the internet should never be used since there is no way to check that votes weren’t altered.

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Evidence-Based Election Ecosystem

Paper records are just one piece of conducting secure elections. For instance, paper ballots are fed into an optical scanner that reads voters’ choices and tabulates the election results.

An evidence-based election ecosystem also requires:

  • A voting system that allows for voter verification, a deliberate and intentional step for voters to verify their selections before casting their ballots
  • A strong chain of custody of the ballots
  • Checking that the computers counted the ballots correctly (post-election audits)

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