Counties could be required to have paper trail for voting by 2024

A bill that would require counties using electronic voting systems to also maintain a paper trail is moving forward at the Indiana General Assembly.

Senate Bill 570, authored by Columbus Republican Greg Walker, would require counties to have a voter-verifiable paper trail in addition to any electronic system the county uses.

Indiana Election Division Co-Director Brad King said a voter-verifiable paper trail would work much the way an ATM generates a paper receipt to reflect a transaction. He said about half of Indiana counties already have such systems..

But those who don't use the systems already could face costly upgrades.

Bartholomew County Clerk Jay Phelps, who testified last week on behalf of the Association of Clerks of Circuit Courts of Indiana, said it could cost a county between $80,000 and more than $1 million, depending on its size. Phelps received information from 30 counties and said, in total, those governments would have to spend a total of $4.4 million to upgrade their systems.

King said federal dollars could be available to help with the upgrades, but the amount of funding that could be available or the timing of its disbursement is unknown.

The Senate Elections Committee amended the bill on Monday to delay the requirement so that it would take effect in 2024, instead of 2022.

“I think there’s still some question about funding,” Walker said. “They’ve got five years to come up with the means.”

The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

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