As jurisdictions review, replace, and modernize their voting systems over the next few years, they will be seeking less expensive and more transparent alternatives to the private and corruptible systems that dominate the market today. Paper-based systems that are easy to manually count and audit, that incorporate commercial off-the-shelf hardware, that are built on open-source software, and that produce exportable data in standardized formats offer a hopeful path forward.


1. Use Paper Ballots

Paper ballots, whether marked by hand or printed from a ballot-marking device, should be the national standard for verifiable elections. Paper ballots can be counted by hand, or counted by machine and then audited manually. Jurisdictions using unverifiable voting machines have a responsibility to immediately scrap their insecure and opaque systems in favor of a paper record that can be counted, audited and recounted for accuracy and to resolve disputes.

2. Audit Election Results

Votes counted by machine must be audited for accuracy prior to official certification of election results. This is only possible with a paper-based system. The process must be statistically significant, transparent, independent, and escalate when discrepancies are found. 

3. Publish Ballot Images

A national Internet archive of ballot images would: 1. Enhance public trust in the institution of voting; 2. Add an additional layer of deterrence against election fraud; 3. Reveal greater detail for resolving close elections; and 4. Fulfill the need for transparent government.

4. Build Open Source Systems

Public voting systems should not use private, copyright-protected software. Jurisdictions should unite in the development of publicly owned open-source solutions as they look to replace the current generation of voting machines.

5. Grant Public Access

The public must be granted timely access to all election data and materials that are relevant to guaranteeing accurate election results. This includes open records laws and data standards for election night reporting, audit logs, ballot images, the ballots themselves when needed, voter sign-in books, and other forensic evidence.