Last updated on: 4/23/2008 | Author:

Do Electronic Voting Machines Provide More Rapid Results Than Other Types of Voting Systems?

PRO (yes)


The National Academy of Science’s 2005 report “Asking the Right Questions About Electronic Voting,” stated:

“Electronic transmission of results from the local precinct to the central tabulation authority offers the possibility that election results can be known much more rapidly.”



Congressional Research Service’s 2001 Report for Congress titled “Voting Technologies in the United States: Overview and Issues for Congress,” explained:

“Systems in which ballots are counted electronically as they are submitted in the precinct can probably produce the most rapid results.”



Cathy Cox, Georgia Secretary of State, explained in her July 2003 report Touch the Future of Voting: Georgia’s Guide to Election Reform:

“Prior to the Election, many speculated on how quickly election results would be tabulated due to the change to an electronic voting system. Every time the Secretary of State’s office received a question about return time, the response always focused on the importance of accuracy versus speed. With that background, when the SOS election night returns were – for the first time in recent memory – released more quickly than the results compiled by the Associated Press, it was a pleasant surprise for all.”

July 2003


David Frey, a correspondent for the Aspen Daily News, states in his Aug. 9, 2006 article “County Clerks Pleased With New Voting Equipment”:

“The new equipment will offer voters a speedier, more secure method of casting ballots than before… In the last election, Garfield County’s final results weren’t known until the following morning because of the time it took to count all the ballots. On Tuesday, Garfield County workers wrapped up the election by 9:45 p.m. Using the Hart InterCivic eSlate [electronic voting] systems, the results are tallied immediately by the machines but have to be transferred to a computer for official counts. ‘You know the results of the election a few hours after the polls are closed,’ said Arnie Dollase, a Republican election judge.”

Aug. 9, 2006

CON (no)


Teresa Hommel, JD, Computer Programming Consultant, explained in a personal communication to Voting Machines on June 18, 2006:

“No, electronic voting machines do not provide more rapid election results than non-electronic voting machines. Mechanical lever machines provided end-of-day tallies in a few moments. Paper ballots cast in precinct-based optical scanners provide returns as quickly as e-voting machines. Speed, however, is not as important as accuracy. One type of failure of e-voting systems that we have seen often is the inability to extract election results, which has delayed reporting of tallies, in some cases for weeks.”

June 18, 2006


Peter Neumann, PhD, Principal Scientist at SRI Computer Science Lab, offered the following response in a personal communication to Voting Machines on June 7, 2006:

“Not necessarily. The impossibility of doing meaningful recounts in case of major screwups that require a do-over election, legal battles that may go on for long periods of time, and many other circumstances could make the results of electronic machines slower than conventional systems.”

June 7, 2006


The Associated Press released an article on Aug. 24, 2006 about the Primary Election in Alaska titled “Vote Count Slowed By Paperless Technology,” which explained:

“Problems with Alaska’s new touchscreen voting machines slowed election returns Tuesday and caused elections officials to hand count and manually upload vote totals from several precincts across the state… ‘We’ve got new technology. Particularly in rural Alaska, we’re going from the paper ballot to cutting-edge technology and the entire process is being slowed down,’ said Division of Elections Director Whitney Brewster.”

Aug. 24, 2006


Lynn Landes, Publisher of, in the History of Voting Question and Answer section on her website (accessed Mar. 18, 2006), stated:

“They should be [faster than a hand count], but often they’re not. Machines breakdown routinely, thereby taking longer to report election results…

Essentially a speedy hand count is based on a sufficient number of poll workers per number of registered voters and the length of the ballot.”

Mar. 18, 2006