Date Published: 2008-11-30
Author(s):Ted Selker, California Institute of Technology
The debate about verifiable voter audit trails has prematurely narrowed into two camps: those who categorically deny the need for any back-up records and those who advocate the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). As jurisdictions and watch-dog groups prepare to define their election processes we should consider all alternatives.
This paper describes a new approach for a verification audit trail, the Voter Verifiable Audio Audit Transcript Trail (VVAATT), which improves the recount process because it produces a transcript of ballots that can be counted either by hand or by computer (or by both methods). Because it allows voters to confirm selections as they proceed, rather than after the fact, it simultaneously reduces adjacency errors (i.e. inadvertent selections of candidates whose names appear next to the desired choices). The audio transcript format makes it beneficially difficult for individual votes to be accidentally or maliciously separated out from the larger group. The system is also inexpensive and easy to implement using current technologies.