Standards > Ballot creation

Ballot creation

Handling ballots with high integrity is at the core of election officials’ work because ballots express the will of voters. From ballot creation to audits of processes and results, election officials ensure the accuracy and security of ballots. The approach to achieving standards will vary between states based on what is permissible, but all election officials prioritize handling ballots with high integrity. This is one of four standards that define excellence in ballots and audits. This draft standard will be updated based on feedback from the election community.


Your election office creates ballots that are well-designed, accurate, and in formats that meet voters’ needs. To achieve this standard:

  • Your ballots and ballot marking instructions use principles of plain language and information design across all ballot formats.
  • You produce accurate ballots through proactive review and management of ballot printing, including in your vendor relationships.
  • Your ballot proofing procedure ensures clarity and accuracy across all ballot styles.
  • Your ballots are proofed by one or more proofers who did not design and program the ballots.
  • You conduct logic and accuracy testing of ballot marking and tabulation equipment on all forms of ballots.

Why this standard matters

It is important that we are explicit about the underlying why for each standard. While not attached to measurements, the intended impact of an election department achieving this standard is that:

  • Election departments reduce the risk of ballot errors when they have strong ballot proofing procedures.
  • Voters recognize – intuitively or with simple instructions – how to make their selections to vote how they intend.
  • Voters feel confident when ballots are accurate and have the correct candidates and contests.

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