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What Is a Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT)?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The National Academy of Science's 2005 report "Asking the Right Questions About Electronic Voting" included the following description:

"A 'voter verified paper audit trail' (VVPAT) consists of physical paper records of voter ballots as voters have cast them on an electronic voting system. In the event that an election recount or audit is called for, the VVPAT provides a supporting record. The 'voter-verified' part of the VVPAT refers to the fact that the voter is given the opportunity to verify that the choices indicated on the paper record correspond to the choices that the voter has made in casting the ballot. Thus, the result of an election is an electronic tally of the votes cast and a paper record of the individual votes that have been cast."

2005 - National Academy of Sciences (NAS) 

The State of Texas Election Division, Legal Section delivered a letter to the State of Texas Director of Elections, Ann McGeehan, on Feb. 21, 2006 regarding Diebold's AccuVote TSX electronic voting system which includes a printer module for voter verifiable paper audit trails. The letter provided the following description:

"The printer produces a voter verifiable paper audit trail in that the choices a voter selects on the DRE [direct recording electronic voting machine] are printed on the tape for the voter's review before the electronic ballot is recorded. If, after reviewing the tape, the voter decides that they match and casts the electronic ballot, the tape is rolled up into the printer's housing. If the voter determines that the tape does not match the selections on the DRE, the paper tape is marked as spoiled and the voter may make changes or vote again on the DRE. The voter does not have access to the tape, which is enclosed in a clear housing window for review."

Feb. 21, 2006 - State of Texas Elections Division 

Rebecca Mercuri, PhD, President of Notable Software, Inc., in her Oct. 2002 IEEE Spectrum paper "A Better Ballot Box?" offered this explanation:

"A voter-verified physical audit trail...requires that the voting system print a paper ballot containing the selections made on the computer. This ballot is then examined for correctness by the voter through a glass or screen, and deposited mechanically into a ballot box, eliminating the chance of accidental removal from the premises. If, for some reason, the paper does not match the intended choices on the computer, a poll worker can be shown the problem, the ballot can be voided, and another opportunity to vote provided."

Oct. 2002 - Rebecca Mercuri, PhD 

Bruce Schneier, PhD, Founder and Chief Technical Officer at Counterpane Internet Security, Inc., wrote a Nov. 10, 2004 article titled "The Problem with Electronic Voting Machines," which stated:

"A voter-verified physical audit trail...requires that the voting system print a paper ballot containing the selections made on the computer. This ballot is then examined for correctness by the voter through a glass or screen, and deposited mechanically into a ballot box, eliminating the chance of accidental removal from the premises. If, for some reason, the paper does not match the intended choices on the computer, a poll worker can be shown the problem, the ballot can be voided, and another opportunity to vote provided."

Nov. 10, 2004 - Bruce Schneier