Studies of voltage-induced deflections in electroactive paper (EAPap) have been carried out. On the experimental side, measurements of bias-dependent deflections and strain, water absorption as a function of time, and relative humidity were obtained for the cellulose EAPap actuator. In addition, model simulations have also been carried out to probe and quantify the role of the various internal mechanisms responsible for the deflection. Our simulation predictions yield good agreement with the measured deflection data for the EAPap. The modeling suggests that internal ion content and its migration, water absorption leading to a nonuniform permittivity, random variations in the transverse piezoelectric-coupling coefficient d(31,i), and the modulus of elasticity all collectively contribute to the EAPap deflection electrophysics. It also appears that higher sensitivity, with a minimal bias dependence, could be achieved by deliberately adding ions during EAPap processing.