If official election results processed by an electronic tabulation system, at which level results are entered into an electronic tabulation system? - United States

United States
If official election results processed by an electronic tabulation system, at which level results are entered into an electronic tabulation system?
Polling station level, offline Polling station level, online connected to central station

The use of electronic voting technologies allow tabulation of results at the polling station level. Practices vary across the United States. 


NCSL, Voting System Standards, Testing and Certification, 8/6/2018, accessed 16 February 2019

“After the 2000 presidential election and the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA), most election jurisdictions in the country replaced older mechanical lever voting machines and punch card voting systems with one of two kinds of systems: Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines or optical scan paper ballot systems. A few small jurisdictions hand count paper ballots as well.

DREs use a touchscreen, dial or push button to directly record votes into the computer memory. Some DREs contain a Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) printer that allows voters to review their selections on a separate paper record before casting the ballot.

Optical scan machines count paper ballots either at the polling place—a precinct count—or at a central location—a central count. A voter fills in an oval, completes an arrow or fills in a box on a paper ballot, much like standardized tests. Paper ballots are then tabulated using the optical scanner.”

United States of America, Mid-Term Congressional Elections 6 November 2018, ODIHR Limited Election Observation Mission [Final Report], accessed 16 February 2019

“The use of new voting technologies is extensive and varies considerably across and within states and jurisdictions. Most states use more than one type of voting machine, because of variations between counties, or to accommodate voters with disabilities or language needs. There is a broad return to paper-based voting, and 42 states and the District of Columbia used optical or digital scanners in conjunction with paper ballots in these elections. Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines without a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) were used in 15 states, with 5 states relying on them exclusively. Using equipment that does not allow the results to be audited is contrary to good practice. DREs with a VVPAT were used in 17 states. Despite concerns of cyber-attacks, new ballot return technologies for voters overseas were piloted and old voting machines known to have serious usability issues were used in some states. […]

Around 1,300 jurisdictions in 30 states certified their NVT using the EAC’s Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). The VVSG continue to be developed by the EAC, in co-operation with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, as well as leading international computer security and election experts. While standards such as the VVSG establish a uniform minimum security baseline across all certified NVTs, they do not allow for security updates without breaking certification, thereby diminishing their value in responding to new and emerging security threats, including recognised Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs). In addition, the VVSG do not cover other sensitive election technologies, such as voter registration systems, electronic poll books and results transmission systems.”