Absentee ballots unlikely to go paperless

May 22, 2013

Though many aspects of our daily lives have gone from paper reliant to paperless, such as airline and concert tickets, receipts and even books, there will likely always be some need for paper products. One town illustrates this point when it decided to incorporate a paperless voting system. According to the Observer Reporter, Washington County in Pennsylvania, has gone from an all paper system to nearly all paperless, with the exception of absentee ballots.

The news source said that in 2006, the county moved from paper ballots to touch-screen voting machines. But it wasn’t until this year that the paper poll books, which include all the information for registered voters, went digital. These electronic poll books include information such as votes’ registered parties, addresses and birth dates. At the same time, the article explained, electronic absentee voting ballots are not likely to come to fruition.

“One aspect of voting that won’t be going paperless anytime soon involves the absentee ballot,” the article wrote. “Unless the state begins to allow civilians to vote over the internet, which is highly unlikely for now, absentee ballots will continue to be paper.”

Washington County is not the only agency to rely on some form of paper ballots. The U.S. Census Bureau will continue to offer paper for the American Community Survey, to reach all citizens, including those unable to access or use a computer.

So until absolutely everyone is able to use a computer, paper surveys and data entry services, will continue to be needed.

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