Voting receipts

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The suggestion is often made that electronic voting machines should provide a receipt that the voter can take from the polling place (as opposed to a paper trail that can be examined in a recount or audit, or a paper ballot that is examined during the main count). Proponents of this idea frequently point to automatic teller machines, which achieve some of their high degree of trust by providing receipts that can be checked against a statement. However, opponents point out that a take-home receipt can be used to prove how one voted to people who might be trying to coerce or bribe the voter. This argument was decisive in the move toward secret ballots in the late nineteenth century as a measure toward curbing abuses.

Proponents of voting receipts must therefore be willing to argue that the increased accountability provided by voting receipts outweighs the possibility of coercion or bribery resulting from the abdication of secrecy.

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