Voters Encouraged to Use Electronically Scanned Ballot on Election Day

Oct. 28, 2013

Fairfax County voters are encouraged to use an electronically scanned ballot during the Nov. 5 General Election. The commonwealth of Virginia has mandated that jurisdictions move toward the use of optical scan technology, instead of using touch screen machines, to ensure a voter-verified paper trail in case there is a recount.

To use an electronically scanned ballot, you mark your choices on a paper ballot using a pen or pencil and then insert the marked ballot into an optical scanning machine. You can see the counter on the machine confirm that your ballot was electronically scanned and registered by the machine. The machine then tabulates the votes after the polls close on Election Day. 

The videos below walk you through the process of using an electronically scanned ballot. In addition, election officers will be available at the polls to answer any of your questions.

In the next couple of years, Fairfax County will implement a new voting system using state-of the-art optical scan technology, as recommended by the county’s Bipartisan Election Process Improvement Commission earlier this year. “While the county allows all voters to use the touch screen machines, we are losing a number of our touch screen machines due to their age," said Fairfax County General Registrar Cameron Quinn. “Additionally, the new voting machines will be optical scan equipment. For these reasons we are encouraging voters to start using an electronically scanned ballot.”

The touch screen machines will still be available for any voter to use, but are particularly intended for voters who need the alternative technology due to a disability or other accessibility needs.  

For more information, contact the Fairfax County Office of Elections at 703-222-0776 (TTY 711) or email


Using an Electronically Scanned Ballot (Spanish)


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