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Ballot Pre-Processing Gives the Voters What They Want: Faster Results and More Confidence

Washington DC – Today, the Bipartisan Policy Center, in partnership with the National Vote at Home Institute, released their latest report titled, From Examination to Tabulation: Ballot Pre-processing Policies Explained, which recommends three policies to improve ballot pre-processing in our ongoing efforts to instill more confidence in the ballot validation and counting process. 

“The period between the close of polls and the release of unofficial results is ripe for mis- and disinformation,” Rachel Orey, associate director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Elections Project, said. “Ballot pre-processing policies shorten that period and allow results to be released sooner and with greater accuracy after the close of polls.” 

“Ballot pre-processing policies not only ensure the timely reporting of unofficial results but help instill confidence among the electorate in our elections,” said Kylee Zabel, director of communications and research for National Vote at Home Institute. “The longer election administrators have to process ballots before Election Day, the longer voters have to cure their ballots and ensure their votes count.” 

Processing ballots before Election Day is a critical step in getting trustworthy results on election night. Pre-processing also increases election security by enabling voters to track the status of their mail ballots and giving election officials more time to verify voters’ identities. 

Our three recommendations to improve pre-processing across states are: 

  • Provide at least seven days before Election Day for pre-processing 
  • Permit election officials to scan ballots into tabulators before Election Day 
  • Give voters sufficient time to correct, or “cure,” issues with their ballot 

Read the full report and details on each recommendation here. 

For questions or to speak with one of our elections experts, please contact Senior Manager of Media Relations Kyle Fischer. 

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that actively fosters bipartisanship by combining the best ideas from both parties to promote health, security, and opportunity for all Americans. Our policy solutions are the product of informed deliberations by former elected and appointed officials, business and labor leaders, and academics and advocates who represent both ends of the political spectrum. BPC prioritizes one thing above all else: getting things done. 

The National Vote at Home Institute is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that aims to increase voters’ access to, use of, and confidence in voting by mail, or “voting at home” – in which voters receive mailed-out paper ballots; return them either by postage-free mail or in-person to a wide range of accessible, convenient, and secure locations; and can track them online, in real-time, to ensure their vote is counted.