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Is YOUR State's Voting System Under Cyber-Attack?

by Countable | 6.7.17

With recent news regarding Russian interference with VR Systems, a U.S. company that provides election services and systems, including voter registration, it seems timely to review what the different ballot submission systems are in each of the states.

No vote collection system is connected to the internet, protecting it somewhat from hacking interference, but many voter registration systems and records are now internet connected. This leaves them much more vulnerable to outside interference.

First, a review of voting systems used in U.S. states as of September 2016:

  • Optical Scan Paper Ballot Systems: Voters mark their votes by filling in an oval, box, or similar shape on a paper ballot. Later, the paper ballots are scanned either at the polling place or at a central location.

  • Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Systems: DRE systems employ computers that record votes directly into the computers' memory. These interfaces may incorporate touchscreens, dials, or mechanical buttons. The voter's choices are stored by the computer on a cartridge or hard drive. Some DRE systems are also equipped with a printer, which the voter may use to confirm his or her choices before committing them to the computer's memory. The paper records can be preserved to be tabulated in case of an audit or recount.

  • Ballot Marking Devices and Systems: These systems are designed to help disabled voters who might be unable to vote using other methods. Most devices utilize a touchscreen along with audio or other accessibility features. Rather than recording the vote into the computer's memory, the ballot is instead marked on paper and later tabulated manually.

  • Punch Card Voting Systems: These devices employ a paper card and a small clipboard device. A voter punches holes in the card to mark his or her vote. The pattern of holes in the card indicates the votes cast. The ballot may then be placed in a box to be tabulated manually or scanned by a computer later.

  • Additionally, some jurisdictions use paper ballots that are manually counted at the polling place. Other jurisdictions use these paper ballots for absentee or provisional voting.

Here are the systems by state, alphabetically listed. If you want to get into the details by county for states that use more than one system, check here:

Alabama: paper

Alaska: paper and DRE with paper trail

Arizona: paper and DRE with paper trail

Arkansas: paper and DRE with and without paper trail

California: paper and DRE with paper trail

Colorado: mail of paper ballot

Connecticut: paper ballot

Delaware: DRE without paper trail

District of Columbia: paper and DRE with paper trail

Florida: paper and DRE without paper trail

Georgia: DRE without paper trail

Hawaii: DRE with paper trail

Idaho: paper and DRE with paper trail

Illinois: paper and DRE with paper trail

Indiana: paper and DRE without paper trail

Iowa: paper ballot

Kansas: paper and DRE with and without paper trail

Kentucky: paper and DRE without paper trail

Louisiana: DRE without paper trail

Maine: paper ballot

Maryland: paper ballot

Massachusetts: paper ballot

Michigan: paper ballot

Minnesota: paper ballot

Mississippi: paper and DRE with and without paper trail

Missouri: paper and DRE with paper trail

Montana: paper ballot

Nebraska: paper ballot

Nevada: DRE with paper trail

New Hampshire: paper ballot

New Jersey: DRE without paper trail

New Mexico: paper ballot

New York: paper ballot

North Carolina: paper and DRE with paper trail

North Dakota: paper ballot

Ohio: paper and DRE with paper trail

Oklahoma: paper ballot

Oregon: mail of paper ballot

Pennsylvania: paper and DRE without paper trail

Puerto Rico: paper ballot

Rhode Island: paper ballot

South Carolina: DRE without paper trail

South Dakota: paper ballot

Tennessee: paper and DRE without paper trail

Texas: paper and DRE without paper trail

Utah: paper and DRE with paper trail

Vermont: paper ballot

Virginia: paper and DRE without paper trail

Washington: mail of paper ballot

West Virginia: paper and DRE with paper trail

Wisconsin: paper and DRE with paper trail

Wyoming: paper and DRE with paper trail

What do you think of your state’s vote collection and tabulation method? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Slideplayer.com)

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