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State Approves First Voter-Verified Paper Trail For Electronic Voting Machines

Rebecca Green
Northeast Indiana Public Radio/WBOI

The Indiana Election Commission recently approved the first paper backups for electronic voting machines.

But it could take up to a decade before such equipment is available to every county that needs it.

Fifty-eight Indiana counties use direct record electronic voting machines, which do not have a paper trail that a voter can see. The Indiana Election Commission approved what are called voter verifiable paper audit trails, which will be added to those electronic machines, offering voters a paper record of their ballot.

Secretary of State Connie Lawson says the paper trails should boost voter confidence in the system and allow the state to conduct post-election audits, to help guarantee every vote was counted.

However, the General Assembly only provided enough money in the new state budget to equip 10 percent of electronic voting machines with the paper trails – and counties will only get a few of the paper backup systems at a time, so not all voters will have access to it immediately. By 2029, all machines statewide must have that equipment.

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.