Voting and Elections - Voting Machines

Voting and Elections - Voting Machines

Position In Brief: 

The League of Women Voters of Rhode Island supports the following standards for state acquisition (or lease) and maintenance of voting machines: It is essential that any equipment, systems, and procedures used for voting in RI guarantee the integrity of the voting process and vote totals. The basic criteria for selection and maintenance of the voting equipment and for procedures on the use of the new voting system must include: Security of the vote, including protection against fraud and other data loss. The following should be included:

  • Audit trails
  • Procedures that assure that the software programs used in voting machines are identical to those deposited with the appropriate state office.
  • Mandatory recount of a small percentage of the votes to confirm the computerized results.
  • Maintenance of in-house expertise
  • To provide professional Systems management of the whole voting system.
  • To assess independently any hardware, software, and support supplied by vendors.
  • Escrow of source code to protect the state in case of default of the vendor.


Privacy of the vote.

Orderliness of voting.

Accuracy of vote recording and summation. Rhode Island should adopt formalized written procedures for testing, ensuring, and maintaining (as recommended in National Bureau of Standards 500-158) the following:

  • Logical correctness of the software and the system.
  • Protection of software and data files from outside influences, such as tampering and viruses.
  • Accuracy of the voter's recording of his or her votes.


A new absentee ballot system, integrated with the polling place system.

A new computerized roll-up of vote totals from polling places (to sum the statewide and local votes).

Cost analysis, including hardware, software, personnel, ballots, maintenance, etc.

At minimum, Rhode Island should adopt the Federal Election Commission Performance Standards for the Purchase of Computerized Vote Tallying Systems. RI should require regular review of laws and regulations to ensure accuracy, integrity and security in computerized vote tallying.

Position History: 

Adopted January 1995; amended August 2001

League to which this content belongs: 
Rhode Island