New system provides paper record of votes for elections

As voters in Columbus cast their ballots for this year’s citywide election, they will be helping the state of Indiana test a new verification system that leaves a paper record of each electronic ballot cast.

The system, called a voter-verified paper audit trail, or VVPAT, is an independent verification system added to electronic voting machines that prints and stores paper copies of electronic voting records to safeguard against possible election fraud and voting machine malfunctions, said Bartholomew County Clerk Jay Phelps.

Bartholomew County is one of four counties that are part of the state’s pilot program to test the new systems during this year’s election. The other three counties in the pilot program include Boone, Hamilton and Hendricks counties, said Shari Lentz, Bartholomew County voter registration and election supervisor.

County election officials said they have received 32 VVPAT systems and plan to use them on every voting machine during early voting and on election day Nov. 5, Phelps said. Each VVPAT system typically cost around $1,500, but the Indiana Secretary of State’s office paid for Bartholomew County’s VVPAT equipment, Phelps said.

“Where the state’s concerned and where we’re concerned is trying to ease people’s fear that they can’t see how these votes are being tabulated and put in,” Phelps said. “It’s another fail-safe so they can double-check to make sure that’s exactly who they’re voting for before that vote gets cast.”

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Republic.