Boone County voters in this year’s general election will see some new equipment attached to the voting machines. County Clerk Jessica Fouts said the county is a pilot site for a black box that will produce a voter verifiable paper audit trail or a VVPAT.
“We already have the votes recorded in here and we do print a paper audit trail,” Fouts said in front of one of the test machines. “But this is so the voter can verify it themselves.”
Indiana will require VVPAT to be installed on all electronic voting machines by 2029. Fouts said there are 24 early voting machines being used in this year’s municipal election. The equipment has been approved by the state; Boone County is seeing if there are any issues when voters start seeing it and using it.
“It will pop up on here,” Fouts pointed to the box display that produces a printed copy of a voter’s vote. Voters don’t take the paper, it’s just a confirmation of the vote in the machine. When the voter is done and they cast their ballot electronically, the paper verification scrolls into the back of the box. Those are saved with all of the other election results, Fouts said.
“It could be used in a recount,” she said.
Voters can see the print out before the vote is cast and are allowed to change their vote if they want. The process is called voiding the vote and it can be done by the machine. You may void a vote up to three times, Fouts said, but the third time you are no longer allowed to vote.
Boone and three other counties were asked to pilot the new equipment for MicroVote, an Indianapolis company whose president lives in Zionsville, Fouts said.
“One step is going to say ‘verify ballot,’” Fouts said. “And if you’re good with it, you still just hit the red (cast) button.”
As the printed version scrolls to the back of the black box, voters will see a QR code scroll past.
“(That’s) for a recount,” Fouts said. “It goes too fast. You couldn’t scan it or anything, but if there was a recount, you could have a scanner. They can scan those codes.”
The state legislature has agreed to buy enough VVPAT add-ons to cover 10% of the machines for next year’s presidential election.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, all election equipment used in Indiana goes through an extensive review and testing process prior to use.
First, it is determined to meet federal requirements by the Election Assistance Commission. Then it is sent to Ball State University for vigorous testing through the Voting System Technical Oversight Program. Then it must be approved by the Indiana Election Commission.