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Counties to get money for adding paper backups to electronic voting machines

Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan demonstrates the use of a voter-verifiable paper audit trail on an electronic voting machine. Sullivan is pointing to the paper readout of a person's ballot on the machine.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
The State Budget Committee approved $12 million in federal funds to ensure counties can add voter-verifiable paper audit trails to electronic voting machines by the 2024 general election.

Indiana counties are finally getting money from the state to add a critical election security measure to their electronic voting machines.

Nearly 60 percent of Indiana counties used electronic voting machines that were not equipped with paper backup systems in the 2020 election. And election security experts agree that electronic machines without paper backups, known as voter-verifiable paper audit trails (VVPATs), are vulnerable.

Lawmakers this year, in HEA 1116, moved up the deadline – from 2030 to 2024 – for counties to install paper backups.

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And now, the State Budget Committee approved $12 million in funds from President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan to ensure counties can meet that deadline. Deputy Secretary of State Rachel Hoffmeyer presented the request to the committee.

“The purpose is to both increase voter confidence and also provide a paper trail, so that when recounts and post-election audits are conducted, they’re able to see the paper trail,” Hoffmeyer said.

Some voter advocacy groups are critical of the effort, arguing Indiana should move away from electronic voting machines entirely to paper ballots.

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

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.