Three recent revelations about electronic voting machines highlight the
maddening lack of security in paperless elections, and emphasize why paper ballot voting with robust post-election audits are a basic requirement for secure elections.
Provisional ballots are mandated by the Help America
Vote Act as a way to provide fail-safe voting for people who cannot be found on
the voter rolls on election day. However, too many of these ballots are
never counted and have even been referred to as "placebo voting."
This problem appears to disproportionately impact minorities as research
indicates that the number of provisional ballots cast and the number discarded
has been higher in precincts with high concentrations of minority voters.
Most states have extremely vague rules for when a provisionally cast vote
should be counted. Well designed procedures for counting these ballots
can significantly reduce the number of people who have their votes discarded.