Indiana is one of 13 states without a paper ballot backup for all its voting machines, and an infusion of federal funds aimed at correcting that and other problems with state voting systems likely won’t fully correct the situation. State and county officials have yet to decide how to spend Indiana’s share of $380 million made available to states this year after the federal government detailed the way Russia tried to interfere with the 2016 election. The interference included attempts to target the election systems of at least 21 states. The $7.6 million Indiana is eligible for is not enough to purchase new equipment and, by one independent estimate, would cover at most one-third of the cost of replacing the paperless balloting machines.
Experts say balloting machines need a paper function to increase security and public confidence in election outcomes by allowing robust audits.
“We either need paper ballots or a way to audit,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told Congress during a May budget hearing.
Indiana’s use of some voting machines that don’t include paper ballots is one reason the Center for American Progress gave Indiana a failing grade in a February assessment of election security in states. The report said Indiana’s system is “susceptible to hacking and manipulation by sophisticated nation-states.” (No state received an “A” rating, and four other states received an “F” from the liberal think tank.)