Copyright 2004 by Jon Snell (

Proposal for Adding an Audit Trail to Electronic Voting Machines without Removing Anonymity

In order for democracy to succeed, voters must be able to cast ballots anonymously and voting must not be tampered with. In order to prevent tampering an audit trail must be created. It is tough to create an adequate audit trail without decreasing anonymity of voters. This document proposes a method for creating an audit trail while guaranteeing anonymity. The goal of improving the audit trail is to prevent election tampering from the voting equipment manufacturer and others. The proposed method is as follows. Each voting machine would have two cash register sized paper rolls in it. Rolls must be large enough to hold all votes for the day on them, in order to prevent tampering. After a user has voted, their votes are printed on a random roll. The results are then fed into a viewable area, which shows them their votes. If everything matches their votes, they hit an OK button and their votes are scrolled out of view. If they wish to change something, an X is printed below their votes, and they are allowed to restart or make corrections. The X is printed using the SAME ink and printing hardware as the votes are printed in, to make sure that the X printer doesn't malfunction. The roll of paper is never cut and is contiguous. It is fed into a locked compartment. If any issues occur or any paper rolls are changed mid election, it must be signed by representatives of at least 2 parties, to prevent tampering. Because each vote is printed to a randomly selected printer, votes cannot be traced to an individual voter as long as more than several votes have been placed. However, because everything is printed on a contiguous roll of paper, any tampering should be immediately obvious. In addition, any malfunctions with the machinery will be immediately known because a voter will be able to report them. If the above methods are followed, it should improve the quality of electronic voting to the point where it is more desireable than traditional paper ballots.