Submitting Paper Ballots

This article is one of four in the Electionbuddy Paper Ballot Collection. For more about paper ballots, please see:


The process for submitting a paper ballot differs depending on whether you choose to include the tear-off portion on your ballot. However, the process for entering a ballot when not using the tear-off portion can also be used for entering a ballot with the tear-off portion. The process for the tear-off portion is exclusive to ballots with that feature. 

If you are looking to submit a paper ballot for a single unique voter who, for whatever reason, could not submit an electronic ballot and needed a paper ballot, please see Printing a Ballot for a Single Voter While Your Election is Running. Alternatively, you can follow the instructions listed below for "Entering a Ballot When Not Using the 'Include Tear-Off Section' Feature", as the instructions are the same.

Entering a Ballot When Not Using the "Include Tear-off Section" Feature

Entering the Ballot

In the top-right corner of the paper ballot, you will see a 16-character code called an  access key. Take this key, and enter it when prompted at https://electionbuddy.com/ballot.

This opens up the electronic ballot for that voter. Carefully review the choices made by the voter on the paper ballot, and replicate those choices on the electronic ballot for the voter. You will be asked to verify the choices, and then will be allowed to submit. 

Ballot Entry Validation Errors

If a validation error is returned to you, read the error message and evaluate carefully.  Your first step should be to review the ballot choices you've entered to ensure that you haven't made an entry mistake.

If you confirm that you've entered the voter's ballot choices exactly as they appear on the paper ballot, but are still receiving a validation error, it is up to your organization to decide how they would like to handle that ballot, as that ballot will not be able to be submitted. 

We strongly recommend that you spoil the ballot causing a validation error due to being improperly completed. Spoiling ballots that have been filled out improperly is standard protocol in many federal/provincial/municipal government elections, and is common throughout non-government election protocols.

For instructions on how to spoil a ballot, please see  Spoiling a Ballot.

Attempting to rectify the voter's ballot in order to get it to submit can be a massive compromise to your election integrity, as you would be attempting to infer what the voter meant by the ballot choices they made. You would be fraudulently submitting a vote on their behalf if you got it wrong. This can jeopardize your entire election, so we do not recommend it.

Entering a Ballot When Using the "Include Tear-off Section" Feature

Accessing the Paper Ballot Entry Area

  1. Log into your Electionbuddy account.
  2. Click on the name of your running election with paper ballots to be brought to its "Results" page.
  3. Locate the "Actions" menu in the top-right of the page.
  4. From the drop-down list that appears, choose "Paper Ballot Entry".
  5. You will see something like the screen in the example below (the exact fields will vary based on the build of your ballot).

Entering the Ballot

  1. Enter the Reference Number for the ballot you are working with in the first box (the one with gray text that says "Ref", and also has a "1" to the left of it).
  2. When you fill out the Reference Number, you should see four characters appear to the right of the box. 
    1. These four characters should correspond to the last four characters of the access key associated with the ballot you are filling out. 
    2. This is to help you confirm that you're submitting the right choices for the right ballot.
  3. Replicate your voters' choices in the entry fields exactly as they appear in the tear-off portion. 
    1. You can click your way to each new box, or you can hit the "Enter" key on your keyboard after filling out each box to move to the next one. 
    2. Also, the "Tab" key on your keyboard will achieve the same effect as the "Enter" key.
  4. Hitting "Enter" when in the last box of the entry field will open up a new field to allow you to enter another ballot. 
  5. If you accidentally create a field after you've filled out a field for your last ballot, you will not be able to save and validate your batch without closing the blank field. To do so, click the [X] in the top-right corner of the extra blank entry field.
  6. When you are ready to submit your batch, click on "Save and Validate your Batch".

Ballot Entry Validation Errors

If you try to submit a batch with ballot fields not filled out appropriately, the batch will not save. This is why we recommend to enter a maximum of ten at a time; it helps make things more manageable for you when trying to locate and correct the errors.

If a validation error is returned to you, read the error message and evaluate carefully. The error messages will appear on the specific ballot that is incorrectly entered, and appear in order of the errors. So, for example, if you had two questions on your ballot and were returned two validation errors, the first error message would relate to the first question, and the second error message would relate to the subsequent question.

Your first step should be to review the ballot choices you've entered to ensure that you haven't made an entry mistake.

If you confirm that you've entered the voter's ballot choices exactly as they appear on the paper ballot, but are still receiving a validation error, it is up to your organization to decide how they would like to handle that ballot, as that ballot will not be able to be submitted. 

We strongly recommend that you spoil the ballot causing a validation error due to being improperly completed. Spoiling ballots that have been filled out improperly is standard protocol in many federal/provincial/municipal government elections, and is common throughout non-government election protocols.

On any ballot entry fields with failed validations, you will see the option to "Spoil Ballot" appear in the top-right corner; right next to the [X]. Click that button to spoil the ballot. 

Attempting to rectify the voter's ballot in order to get it to submit can be a massive compromise to your election integrity, as you would be attempting to infer what the voter meant by the ballot choices they made. You would be fraudulently submitting a vote on their behalf if you got it wrong. This can jeopardize your entire election, so we do not recommend it.

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