AutoMARK Technical Systems AutoMARK VAT

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The AutoMARK VAT1[1] is a voting machine with a voter-verified paper audit trail by AutMARK Techincal Systems. This article generally describes the specific AutoMARK VAT1 model.

Main article: Voting machines

Design and operation

Voter verification

The AutoMARK VAT1 has a federally-qualified voter-verified paper audit trail capability.

Brief description

The AutoMARK VAT uses touch screen voting to mark optical scan paper ballots. The AutoMARK VAT is an optical scan ballot marker designed for use by people who are unable to personally mark an optical scan ballot due to physical impairments or language barriers, although it can also be used by other voters. Accessibility features include a touch screen with a zoom and contrast feature, multiple language translation, keypad marked with Braille, a binary switch to allow a puff-sip interface or foot pedals as well as an audio ballot feature. The AutoMARK VAT prevents overvoting and users are prompted visually and audibly if they attempt to undervote. Undervoting is allowed only after the user is prompted unless otherwise required by the election jurisdiction. Before any marks are made on the ballot, the voter is shown a verification screen where each race is displayed along with their selections. Under-voted races are identified by different colors on the touch screen as well as the audio ballot prompt. The AutoMARK VAT marks the optical scan ballot for the voter including any write-ins. For voter verification purposes, the user may also re-insert their marked ballot in order to verify that their intent was accurately captured. In the event of a mis-marked ballot the voter may spoil the ballot, obtain a new ballot and restart the voting process.

Detailed Voting Process

Detailed Voting Process: The AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal (VAT) is a hybrid of several devices: a scanner, printer, touch screen display, and input device. The ballot data for a given election is stored on a compact flash card. Once the flash card has been programmed, it is inserted and locked into the AutoMARK VAT.

When a voter inserts their ballot into the AutoMARK VAT, it searches for a match to the precinct identification code found on each ballot in order to display the proper ballot information to the voter using the touchscreen display. The voter is then prompted to select the language in which they wish to vote and is able to carry out the voting process using the touch screen, a puff-sip device, or by following audio prompts along with a keypad. Additionally, there is a screen privacy option that blanks the screen so that visually impaired users can be assured that their voting remains private. During the voting process, over-voting is not allowed. The user is also prompted anytime they attempt to under-vote, and may select to continue with the under-vote or re-vote the contest in order to properly capture their intentions. Before any mark is made on the ballot, the user is shown a verification screen where each race is displayed along with the users' selections. Under-voted races are identified and the user is given the option to return and modify any race they choose.

The ballot is then printed by making marks on the optical scan ballot, along with any write-in’s, and returned to the user. For voter verification purposes, the user may also reinsert their ballot, after printing is complete, in order to verify that their intent was captured. If not, they may follow the jurisdiction’s ballot spoiling procedures and restart the voting process.

Reported problems

Pre-2008 election

  • March 2006: Illinois. In the first election held with the county’s new AutoMARK units, an ES&S Technician’s error was blamed for incorrect totals delivered the night of an election held March 21, 2006.[2]

NASED Qualification Status

NASED Qualification Status:[3]

  • 10/24/05: AutoMARK Model 100 Optical Scan Precinct Ballot Counter Firmware v. 2.5, Model 100 Optical Scan Precinct Ballot Counter Firmware v. 3.0, Model 650 Optical Scan Central Counter v. 2.5, Model 650 Optical Scan Central Counter v. 3.0, AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal(VAT) v. 1.0.168
  • 6/01/05: AutoMARK Model 100 Optical Scan Precinct Ballot Counter Firmware v., Model 150/550 v., Model 650 v., Optech Eagle v. 1.50 APS, v.1.28 HPS, CPS v. 1.02/C1.04, AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal (VAT) v. 1.0 (2002)

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


Note: This article was originally copied from the Electronic Frontier Foundation's fact sheet, "Electronic Voting Machine Information Sheet: Diebold Election Systems — AccuVote-TSx", Version 1.1 of October 29, 2006. See more EFF articles on voting machines at

  1. Descriptive text about the AutoMARK derived from
  2. See
  3. 3 NASED Qualified Voting Systems (11/18/2005). National Association of State Election Directors. See:

External resources

“Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine ,” Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University, September, 2006. See Diebold’s response may be found at

Tadayoshi Kohno, Adam Stubblefield, Aviel D. Rubin, and Dan S. Wallach, “Analysis of an Electronic Voting Machine”, IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy 2004. IEEE Computer Society Press, May 2004. See:

“DRE Security Assessment, Volume 1, Computerized Voting Systems, Summary of Findings and Recommendations,” InfoSENTRY, 21 Nov. 2003. See:

“Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Technical Security Assessment Report,” Compuware Corporation, 21 Nov. 2003. See:

“Risk Assessment Report: Diebold Accuvote-TS Voting System and Processes (redacted)”, Science Applications International Corporation SAIC-6099-2003-261, Sept. 2, 2003. See:

“Trusted Agent Report -- Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting System,” RABA Technologies, Jan. 20, 2004. See:

External articles