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Provisional Ballot Reform

New Revelations Provide More Evidence Paperless Voting Not Safe

Three recent revelations about electronic voting machines highlight the maddening lack of security in paperless elections, and emphasize why paper ballot voting with robust post-election audits are a basic requirement for secure elections.

Overview

Provisional ballots are mandated by the Help America Vote Act as a way to provide fail-safe voting for people who cannot be found on the voter rolls on election day.  However, too many of these ballots are never counted and have even been referred to as "placebo voting." This problem appears to disproportionately impact minorities as research indicates that the number of provisional ballots cast and the number discarded has been higher in precincts with high concentrations of minority voters.  Most states have extremely vague rules for when a provisionally cast vote should be counted.  Well designed procedures for counting these ballots can significantly reduce the number of people who have their votes discarded.