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Data “Deep Dive” Shows Increase in Electronic Poll Books, Online Voter Registration, Other Election Technology

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May 1, 2018

Silver Spring, Md. – The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) released a brief today on evolving election technology and its implications for election efficiency, integrity, accessibility, voter experience and confidence, and the roles of election officials at all levels. This is the fourth in a series of “deep dives” into election administration trends and voting behavior ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The brief analyzes data from the 2016 Election Administration and Voting Survey, the most comprehensive survey on election administration in the United States identifying national, state and local trends.

“As states continue to grapple with balancing the efficiency and accessibility gains of election technology against heightened security concerns, this data allow us to catalogue the growth of this technology and its impact on the election process,” said EAC Director of Research Sean Greene, who leads the EAVS.

The findings released in today’s brief include: 

  • From 2012 to 2016, the number of in-person voters checked in with electronic poll books (e-poll books) more than doubled, increasing 110 percent from 19.7 million to 41.4 million voters.
  • Nearly 48 percent of voters who cast ballots in person in 2016 were signed in at the polls by election workers using e-poll books, compared to only 27 percent in 2012.
  • Thirty-two states, the District of Columbia and U.S. Virgin Islands reported using e-poll books in at least one jurisdiction in the 2016 elections. Five states used e-poll books statewide.
  • Optical scan machines remain the most popular type of voting equipment in the country and were used by approximately 61 percent of jurisdictions in 2016. Jurisdictions using hybrid voting machines increased by 4 percent between 2008 and 2016, while those using direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines without a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) decreased by 3 percent over the same period.
  • Online voter registration (OVR) accounted for nearly 18 percent of all voter registration applications for the 2016 elections, more than triple the rate from 2012.
  • Six additional states have implemented OVR since 2016. Today, 37 states, the District of Columbia and Guam offer OVR.

The EAC conducts the EAVS to meet its Help America Vote Act of 2002 charge to serve as a national clearinghouse and resource for the compilation of information with respect to the administration of federal elections. Additionally, the EAVS fulfills EAC data collection requirements contained in both the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).

For more information about the EAVS Deep Dives or to speak with Greene, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at bsoder@eac.gov or 202-897-9285. 

Read the full EAVS Deep Dive on Election Technology

Read the previous EAVS Deep Dives on Registering to Vote, Early, Absentee and Mail Voting and Poll Workers and Polling Places.

Read the 2016 EAVS REPORT.

Visit the 2016 EAVS WEBPAGE containing state-specific data and other resources.

Read the EAC’s EAVS FACT SHEET

 

The report highlighted by this press release was updated from its original version on June 8, 2018 to correct an error. The earlier version stated that 1.97 million voters were checked in with e-poll books in 2012 and 4.14 million were in 2016. The corrected figures are 19.7 million and 41.4 million, respectively. The EAC research team regrets this error. The updated version of the report can be found here: https://www.eac.gov/documents/2018/05/01/eavs-deep-dive-election-technology/

 

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The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with ensuring secure, accurate and accessible elections by developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as administers the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit www.eac.gov.

Contact: Brenda Bowser Soder
Phone: 202-897-9285
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