Denver Goes “Back to Paper” — Sort Of

A news article from Denver notes that the city is reversing its experiment from its last election, and going "back to paper."

It’s Back to Paper Ballots, Precincts, For This Year’s Elections 

This only sort of true. Yes, it’s true that Denver is using a voting method that election officials say they’re more comfortable with, and that some voters will likely view as more trustworthy. 

However, the paper ballots will be counted by a machine that is no less a worrisome computer than the "electronic voting machines" that are being ditched in favor of hand-marked paper ballots. And as New York state can attest from bitter experience, the computerized ballot scanners can be just as flakey, or more! For details on New York, see Wired’s Kim Zetter on

NY: 50 Percent of Sequoia Voting Machines Flawed 

Just to say it one more time, going back to paper ballots does not get rid of black-box, untrustworthy, proprietary election systems. It does provide the ability to count, audit, and re-count elections independent of the computers — which is great — but in practice this is only helpful if states actually require audits. But that theory/practice gap is a topic for another day.

— John Sebes

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