Colorado Will Change How Voters Get Receipts For Their Ballots ⁠— For Cybersecurity Reasons

September 17, 2019
A Denverite votes at Denver Elections Division on Election Day, May 7, 2019.A Denverite votes at Denver Elections Division on Election Day, May 7, 2019.Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A Denverite votes at Denver Elections Division on Election Day, May 7, 2019.

Colorado's elections are getting a bit lower tech, in the hope that they can also be more secure, Colorado's Secretary of State announced.

The change affects people who cast their ballots using electronic voting machines at polling places. Those machines print out a record of the voter's choices that are recorded in a QR code, to be read later by a tabulation machine.

Colorado will be dropping the QR codes and will instead provide receipts that show the voter's choices.

“Voters should have the utmost confidence that their vote will count. Removing QR codes from ballots will enable voters to see for themselves that their ballots are correct and helps guard against cyber meddling,” Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in a statement.

The thinking is that because QR codes aren't legible, they could be vulnerable to hacking without voters having any way to verify that the machine recorded their ballots correctly.

"Colorado will be the first state to require voting systems to tabulate all ballots using only human-verifiable information and not QR codes," according to the released statement.

The change requires the state to develop new tabulation systems.