About Voting Equipment
How we vote in the United States is surprisingly complex.
Election security experts agree that the most resilient voting systems use paper ballots (marked by hand or with an assistive device for those who need to use them) that are verified by the voter before casting. Any system that does not include a paper record or a step for voter verification should not be used. Some states and local jurisdictions are still using unreliable and insecure electronic voting systems, while others primarily use hand-marked paper ballots. Visit the Verifier to see the voting equipment being used in your jurisdiction, and learn more about the different types of voting systems here.
Types of Voting Equipment
Direct Recording Electronic (DRE)
A direct recording electronic voting system is a vote-capture device that allows the electronic presentation of a ballot, electronic selection of valid contest options, and the electronic storage of contest selections as individual records.
Ballot Marking Devices & Systems
A ballot marking device allows the electronic presentation of a ballot, electronic selection of valid contest options and produces a human-readable paper ballot, but does not make any other lasting record of the voter’s selections.
Hand Counted Paper Ballots
A significant number of jurisdictions manually count paper ballots cast in polling places and even more count absentee and/or provisional ballots by hand. While not a type of “voting equipment,” beyond the pen or pencil used by the voter to mark the ballot, many of the issues of ballot design and voter intent that affect all voting systems are relevant to hand counted paper ballots as well.
Electronic Poll Books
An electronic poll book (also called “e-poll book) is a computer-based system that allows poll workers to look up voters and either check them in to vote or identify the person as not in the list of voters permitted to vote at the polling location.
Voting Equipment Database
Some types of voting equipment are more secure than others, and it matters what type of voting equipment you use and how you cast your vote. Verified Voting’s in-house database of the types of voting equipment we use to cast – and count – our votes is sorted by voting equipment type and voting equipment vendor.
The conduct of elections has changed in many ways over the past 200 years. The Verifier is the only comprehensive data set of voting equipment down to the precinct level of the United States, going back to 2006.