Public hand counting is the only system that allows for full citizen oversight of elections—the foundation of democratic self-governance.

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Properly conducted, hand counting paper ballots before they are moved from public view is considered the "gold standard" of secure, transparent democratic elections.

Nevertheless, hand counting has been all but eliminated in American elections.

In some states, counting the ballots in public has been made illegal, to facilitate the takeover of private computerized vote counting.

As computerized voting systems fail nationwide, hand counting may be a reasonable option for communities that can't afford to purchase expensive new systems.

QUICK FACTS ON Hand Counting

  • Hand counting provides timely and accurate results.
  • Election Day vote counting is a job creator for the local community.
  • Public hand counting at the precinct prevents the fraud that can occur when ballots are moved or counted out of public view.
  • Only paper ballots that are marked by the voter’s hand or an accessible non-tabulating ballot-marking device should be used.
  • Ballots should be easily countable. A voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) is very difficult to count. Typically produced by a receipt-roll printer added on to a Direct Recording Electronic voting machine, VVPATs are hard to read and handle, and have other known deficiencies.