Counties mandated to keep paper trail of voter ballots


Voting machines on Election Day will have a small box that will show voters a paper copy of the selections they made.

The voter-verifiable paper audit trail boxes are meant to let voters verify their ballot selections.

“I think it’s a great thing to have them,” Dubois County Clerk Amy Kippenbrock said at Tuesday morning’s election board meeting. “Put it in front of people, so that they know that their vote has counted.”

A state law passed last year stating that counties must have a verifiable paper trail of ballots.

Counties must have VVPAT machines for all their voting machines by 2029. To help with that, the state agreed to cover the cost for at least 10% of a county’s machines. The state actually covered the cost for 30 machines in Dubois County, which is more than 10%, Kippenbrock said. MicroVote is also loaning the county 57 machines.

For early voting in Dubois County, seven machines will have the VVPAT equipment; there will be at least one at each voting location, Kippenbrock said. On Election Day, all voting machines will be equipped with a VVPAT machine.

Once a person votes and hits “done,” a paper will appear on the VVPAT under a screen. That paper will list the selections the voter made on the ballot. It will also have the voter ID number on it, but not the person’s name.

“It’s for you to view. If you as the voter agree that those are the people you voted for, then you will hit the red button to confirm your ballot.”

When the voter confirms the vote, the paper will scroll forward into the box. So the next voter will not see the previous voter’s selections. “That information will still be confidential,” Kippenbrock added.

A person can change his or her ballot once. “If you say, ‘I changed my mind” or ‘That is not who I thought I cast a vote for,’ you can hit cancel and it gives you your ballot one more time,” Kippenbrock said.

The person can then fill out the ballot again, however, the do-over is only available one time.

“I encourage people to take the time to make their selections,” Kippenbrock said,” as they go through each page of the ballot.”

After the election, the papers will be kept in a locked location. The only reason they could possibly be used is in the case of a recount.

“All those paper audit trails are saved just like every other piece of election material,” Kippenbock said. “It’s for the security of elections.”

More on