Voting Machines & Ballot Design

Technology has changed dramatically in the last decade, but America's voting machines are rapidly aging out. Old equipment is less secure and more likely to fail on Election Day, which can lead to long lines and lost votes. With foreign interests attempting to hack our voting infrastructure, including machines and registration databases, upgrading these outdated systems is critical to protecting the integrity of our elections.

Through empirical research, the Brennan Center has chronicled America's voting machine crisis and identified ways to make equipment more accessible, secure, and easy to use. Voting machine defects should be caught early and fixed nationally. We proposed a national clearinghouse of machine problems that could help catch failures before they happen, better prepare poll workers for Election Day issues, and ensure all votes are counted accurately and fairly.

Poor ballot design and instructions can also contribute to problems at the polls, such as long lines, confusion, and lost votes — potentially tens of thousands in nearly every election year. These issues disproportionately affect low-income voters, new voters, and elderly voters. The Brennan Center’s research outlines simple measures election officials can take to cure these design defects and ensure every voter can cast a ballot that counts.

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