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Bill sets earlier deadline for counties to add voting machine paper trails

FILE PHOTO: Brandon Smith
IPB News
Former Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson demonstrates a voter-verifiable paper audit trail on a voting machine.

Lawmakers want to move up the deadline for counties to add a critical election security measure to their voting machines.

Election security experts widely agree that electronic voting machines should use "voter verifiable paper audit trails." That’s a paper backup that allows counties to conduct post-election audits and helps voters check that they’re casting their ballot for who they intended.

Julia Vaughn is the policy director for Common Cause Indiana. Her organization has long pushed for those backup systems.

"Hoosier voters who use [direct-recording electronic] machines have been waiting long enough for this technology," Vaughn said. "So, we need it sooner, rather than later."

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Right now, there are about 8,000 DRE machines that can use those backups in Indiana, across dozens of counties. More than 60 percent of them still need the paper trails.

Current law says counties have until 2030 to get the paper backups. Now, lawmakers want to move that deadline up to July 2024.

HB 1116's author, Rep. Tim Wesco (R-Osceola), said he’s been assured the state will provide money to counties to get that done. The expected cost is around $12 million.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.