Answers to frequently asked questions about VotingWorks
What does VotingWorks do?
VotingWorks is a nonpartisan nonprofit making elections more trustworthy with transparent, simple, and secure election technology. VotingWorks develops and implements two main products:
- VotingWorks: the only open-source voting system used in United States Elections. Voters choose to mark ballots by hand or touchscreen, and cast voter-verifiable paper ballots.
- Arlo: an open-source risk-limiting audit web application used by 11 states to conduct statistically rigorous post-election audits of the vote tabulation process.
How is VotingWorks different from other voting systems?
VotingWorks is the only nonprofit voting system vendor and the only open-source system used in United States elections today.
Open-source software means that the source code for our machine software is publicly available for review. Unlike the secret proprietary software controlled by private vendors, anyone can inspect VotingWorks software to confirm votes are counted privately and accurately.
As an IRS-regulated 501(c)(3) nonprofit, VotingWorks is subject to rigorous financial public oversight and offers a much more affordable product. Our customers see an estimated total cost of ownership savings of 50 percent compared to other vendors.
Why do we need voting machines? Why don't we just hand-count paper ballots?
Technology is necessary to:
- Accurately tabulate paper ballots
- Provide equal access to all voters
Ballots in the United States have a uniquely large number of contests. Counting ballots accurately at scale requires optical-scanning based tabulation.
Voting machines are also necessary to offer alternative means of marking a ballot to voters with accessibility needs. VotingWorks builds fully-accessible ballot-marking devices connected to printers that produce a voter-verifiable paper ballot.
Is VotingWorks politically affiliated?
VotingWorks is a nonpartisan organization that does not support or oppose any political candidate or party.
Who uses VotingWorks?
14 jurisdictions in Mississippi trust VotingWorks in real elections.
5 states use Arlo for statewide risk-limiting audits: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Jurisdictions in 6 other states also use Arlo: California, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Washington.
Who funds VotingWorks?
VotingWorks is a 501(c)(3) that receives funding from three sources:
- Sale and support of voting technology
- Government contracts and grants: CISA and the NSF funded our work in 2019 and 2020.
- Donations from foundations and individuals: Foundations and individuals have provided funding that has allowed us to grow the VotingWorks organization ahead of the revenue we make from sales.
Democracy Fund, Schmidt Futures, and New Venture Fund are foundations that have funded VotingWorks. Our largest individual VotingWorks donors include: Matt Cutts, John Lilly, Chris Sacca , Niels Provos, Ron Gula, Paul Graham, Mark Gorton. Some of our individual donors choose to remain anonymous.
Within a few years, we expect to be sustainable without donations, solely based on the sale and support of voting technology.
Does VotingWorks receive funding from George Soros or Charles Koch?
VotingWorks has never received funds from Koch or Soros, directly or indirectly.
Some web sites have made this incorrect claim because of our past affiliation with the Center for Democracy and Technology.
The Center for Democracy and Technology is a nonpartisan nonprofit that was our fiscal sponsor. This means that we, VotingWorks, paid the Center for Democracy and Technology a fee in order to bootstrap our non-profit status before obtaining our own 501(c)(3) status from the IRS. While the Center for Democracy and Technology has, in the past, received funds from both Koch and Soros for free-speech related advocacy, we never received funds from the Center for Democracy and Technology. Instead, we paid the Center for Democracy and Technology for the service of being our fiscal sponsor.
Where is VotingWorks located?
VotingWorks staff members work from across the United States. Our hardware production facility is located in San Francisco.
Is VotingWorks internet voting?
No, VotingWorks is not internet voting. Every ballot cast through VotingWorks is a voter-verifiable paper ballot and no VotingWorks machines are ever connected to the internet.
Is VotingWorks certified by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC)?
No. We plan to be tested by a Voting System Test Laboratory to the latest Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) Version 2.0 in 2022. VotingWorks intends to be the first vendor to receive certification to these modern security and accessibility standards that improve on the 16-year old voting system standards that all other systems are certified to.
Does VotingWorks comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)?
Yes. All VotingWorks equipment complies with HAVA voting system requirements and HAVA-grants can be used to purchase VotingWorks.