January 17, 2022

Bill sets earlier deadline for counties to add voting machine paper trails

Article origination Indiana Public Media
Former Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson demonstrates a voter-verifiable paper audit trail on a voting machine. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Former Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson demonstrates a voter-verifiable paper audit trail on a voting machine. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Lawmakers want to move up the deadline for counties to add a critical election security measure to their voting machines.

Election security experts widely agree that electronic voting machines should use "voter verifiable paper audit trails." That’s a paper backup that allows counties to conduct post-election audits and helps voters check that they’re casting their ballot for who they intended.

Julia Vaughn is the policy director for Common Cause Indiana. Her organization has long pushed for those backup systems.

"Hoosier voters who use [direct-recording electronic] machines have been waiting long enough for this technology," Vaughn said. "So, we need it sooner, rather than later."


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Right now, there are about 8,000 DRE machines that can use those backups in Indiana, across dozens of counties. More than 60 percent of them still need the paper trails.

Current law says counties have until 2030 to get the paper backups. Now, lawmakers want to move that deadline up to July 2024.

HB 1116's author, Rep. Tim Wesco (R-Osceola), said he’s been assured the state will provide money to counties to get that done. The expected cost is around $12 million.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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