Standards > Secure ballot management

Secure ballot management

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 office protects ballot security from printing to storage using comprehensive ballot handling processes. To achieve this standard:

  • You have procedures for ballot organization, ballot accounting, ballot reconciliation, and chain of custody.
  • You routinely train election staff on ballot management procedures.
  • Your ballot handling process provides orderliness and promotes accuracy.
  • You reconcile the number of ballots with the number of voters and provide an explanation if numbers do not match. 
  • You store ballots in a secure space that only necessary personnel can access.
  • You implement security strategies during ballot handling processes to protect marked ballots from tampering.
  • You conduct a ballot accounting process review to verify accuracy and improve procedures.
  • You build public understanding of ballot handling processes.

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:

  • Staff can easily follow critical security measures for ballot handling because of well-documented procedures.
  • Election departments have secure ballot handling processes to detect and deter tampering.
  • Voters will trust their ballot has been securely handled and accurately counted, which strengthens their confidence in the integrity of the voting process and election results

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