Edward Perez, Global Director of Technology Development
Contributions from Gregory Miller, Co-Founder & COO

Following the U.S. Intelligence Community’s conclusion that Russia attempted to interfere with the 2016 Presidential Election, increasing attention has been paid to the importance of auditable “paper trails” for voting devices.

One type of paper trail solution that is becoming increasingly popular among some election officials is the use of “hybrid” ballot marking devices that produce “summary” paper vote records. These types of vote records differ from traditional ballots insofar as they are machine-marked, and they capture contest titles and voter choices (only) in human-readable text format.

Design considerations (recommended principles and guidelines) for Printed Vote Records (PVRs) are the subject of this Briefing.  

Several commercial voting system manufacturers have developed and attained certification of diverse implementations of PVRs, and they represent an emerging technology in need of uniform design principles, best practices, and additional research. The relatively fast pace at which hybrid devices with PVRs are being deployed and brought to market increases the risk and likelihood that some designs may adversely impact verifiability, usability, cost-effectiveness, and other important values in voting and election administration.

This Briefing summarizes the current state of commercial offerings for hybrid marking devices and Printed Vote Records; identifies concerns and design challenges reflected in current implementations; presents principles and guidelines for future PVR development; identifies areas in need of additional research; and concludes with high-level considerations about differences between traditional hand-marked ballots and machine-marked Printed Vote Records.

In this Briefing, Edward Perez a senior member of the leadership team at the OSET Institute delivers what we believe are important considerations to catalyze conversation, as we work to help better defend democracy, principally by increasing trust and confidence in elections and their outcomes.  Gregory Miller, a co-founder and COO offers a Preface to the Briefing. We hope this is helpful to your continuing pursuit of innovation in this vital aspect of democracy administration.