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Ditching QR codes, Colorado will count votes a more old-fashioned way

Colorado is dropping the use of QR codes from ballots statewide, saying the ubiquitous square bar codes are susceptible to hacking that could manipulate election results.

This will make Colorado, likely one of the most hotly contested states in the 2020 presidential contest and also home to one of next year's premier Senate races, the first state where all ballots get tabulated "using only human-verifiable information," officials said in an announcement Monday.


"Voters should have the utmost confidence that their vote will count," said the new secretary of state, Democrat Jena Griswold. "Removing QR codes from ballots will enable voters to see for themselves that their ballots are correct and helps guard against cyber meddling."

Under the current system, the choices made by an in-person voter are turned into a QR code that's embedded on each paper ballot, although the voter cannot "proofread" the code for accuracy. In time for the 2020 election, the state will deploy a system for counting the votes based on the colored-in ovals on each ballot.

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Ballot measures are good democracy — but only if you can understand them

Marginal improvements have been made to help voters understand the questions posed to them on the ballot this November, a new study concludes, but such ballot measures still favor the college-educated — who represent a minority of the U.S. population.

This year voters in eight states will decide the fate of a collective 36 such propositions. In a study released Thursday, Ballotpedia assessed how easy it is to comprehend what each proposal would accomplish, concluding that the difficulty level had decreased compared with the referendums decided in the last off-year election of 2017 — but not by much.

In fact, according to a pair of well-established tests, 21 of the 36 ballot measures cannot be understood by the 40 percent of the voting-age population who never attended college.

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Balance of Power
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Two states asking Supreme Court for permission to regulate Electoral College conduct

Colorado has become the second state to ask the Supreme Court to decide if states may legally bind their presidential electors to vote for the candidate who carried their state.

The issue of so-called faithless electors is the latest aspect of an increasingly heated debate about the virtues and flaws of the Electoral College that has blossomed, especially among progressive democracy reform advocates, now that two of the past five presidential winners (Donald Trump in 2016 and George W. Bush in 2000) got to the Oval Office despite losing the national popular vote.

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