Paper Ballots


Public hand counting of voter marked paper ballots is the only election process that allows for full citizen oversight of elections—the foundation of democratic self-governance.


The Bedrock of Verifiable Elections

Paper ballots must be reestablished as the national standard for democratic elections in the United States. 

However, fourteen states use some form of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Touchscreen voting machines that provide no paper ballot at all.  

In states where paper ballots are used, they are counted by Optical Scan computers, programmed by private companies using “trade secret” software off limits to public inspection. These scanners are vulnerable to both fraud and error, and therefore must be checked against a manual audit of the paper ballots on election night.

While using paper may sound antiquated, the consensus among election security experts is that nothing else provides the needed reliability, security, and transparency. It is appropriate technology for public elections.

Jurisdictions currently using unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Touchscreen voting machines that provide no paper have a responsibility to immediately scrap these insecure and opaque systems in favor of a paper based system that can be manually counted, and further audited or recounted for accuracy and to resolve disputed results.


  • Hand counting provides timely and accurate results.

  • Election Day vote counting can be 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.