Privacy Matters: What Happens to Your Ballot After the Election?

A look at what happens to private voter ballots after the election.

Privacy matters – 2020 has been a year of unforgettable moments and a time in history, unlike anything any generation has experienced before. With a global pandemic, statewide shutdowns, and new social distancing orders in place across the globe, there has never been a more important time to take mandates seriously.  

This year has also been unique as a presidential election looms and voters on either side of the map are hoping to turn out to the polls on November 3rd so that their voices may be heard. 

We cannot talk about the importance of this season and how much influence the election has without also talking about our privacy. The actual process of voting had its hiccups in the past. With absentee ballots and new mail-in voting measures taken this year, there are certainly some new areas for all to navigate. 

We’ve already begun to see topics around shredding as it relates to election proceedings all over the news headlines. Some questions are still looming over misinformation that Pennsylvania mail-in ballots were possibly being shredded and never mailed to recipients. In the past, not shredding ballots lead to uncovering voter problems in the state of Florida and so the topic remains a hot one.

While we wait in anticipation for the results of the 2020 election, you may be thinking about another detail from the day – and that is, what happens to your very private ballot after the election has passed? 

A paper ballot system, while it has its perks for reliability, can also leave private information exposed if not destroyed properly. 

To remain compliant with federal laws, the ballots must be stored for retention purposes for at least 2 years. After this retention period has passed, it is up to individual states to decide if they will store the paper safely or destroy it permanently. 

A paper voting system raises speculations on ballot box stuffing, paying for votes and even improper destruction. To help curb this, some states are now using optical scanning systems to quickly record data in a modern format. 


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