Independent DIGITAL Ballot AUDITS

Digital ballot scanning has gained popularity as an option for rapid, independent audits of electronic voting machine results.

These systems scan paper ballots on a technology separate from the voting machines that were used to tabulate the election. They can also be used to interpret ballot image files extracted from voting machines.

Typically digital ballot audits combine commercial off-the-shelf scanners with proprietary software for interpreting voter intent, though open-source options exist. A visual verification system or projected slideshow of ballot images can be used for official adjudication or a citizen audit.

Proponents of these systems claim the following:

  • Use of a separate technology provides an extra layer of fraud deterrence.
  • Use of a separate technology provides independent verification of election results.
  • A digital audit can be faster than a hand-count audit.
  • A digital audit can be less expensive than a hand-count audit.
  • Ballot images can be uploaded to the Internet and saved in multiple backups, preventing post-election image manipulation.

Experts agree that digital auditing should not entirely replace manual comparison with electronic results.