Voting System Guidelines Under Review, Secret Ballot at Risk

The Election Assistance Commission technical committee is meeting today to review standards for voting equipment. Some members of theTechnical Guidelines Development Committee have raised questions about the value of the secret ballot. Last year, EPIC, Verified Voting, and Common Cause explained in "The Secret Ballot At Risk: Recommendations for Protecting Democracy" that the secret ballot — the inability to link particular voters to particular votes — is a cornerstone of modern democracies. Most states (44) have constitutional provisions guaranteeing secrecy in voting. The secret ballot also reduces the threat of coercion, vote buying and selling, and tampering. EPIC has a long history of working to protect voter privacy and election integrity. In a 2010 Supreme Court case, EPIC argued that disregard for voter privacy may unconstitutionally burden the right to vote. Also today, MIT Professor Ronald Rivest spoke in support of ballot secrecy and election integrity at a meeting of the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.

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