Delaware first started requiring post-election audits as of January 1, 2020, following the passage of Senate Bill 121. The audits involve hand-counting a small number of randomly sampled audit units (see “Audit Comprehensiveness”).
Unless otherwise specified, statutory references are to Del. Code. Title 15 §5012A.
The statute does not specify what ballot types are included in the audit.
Within forty-eight (48) hours of the certification of the results of the primary and general elections, and school board elections conducted under Title 14, the Department shall audit the results of one randomly selected voting device in each county and one randomly selected election district in the City of Wilmington.
Within sixty (60) days of the certification of the results of the primary and general elections, the Department shall conduct an audit of all such elections, as follows: 1) all results of one randomly selected election district in each county and one randomly selected election district in the city of Wilmington, different from other selected districts, 2) one randomly selected statewide race in one randomly selected election district in each county and one randomly selected election district in the City of Wilmington.
For each portion of the audit, different election districts must be selected.
The Department of Elections conducts the audit “in public.” Within sixty (60) days of the audit, the Department must publish a report containing the audit results and post the report on its website.
Audit Counting Method
The audit is a hand count only. The statute specifies that votes on each paper ballot will be counted by hand and compared to the electronic totals of the voting device.
Type Of Audit Units
Delaware uses a mix of audit units. It randomly selects voting devices and election districts to audit.
Contests & Issues Audited
The statute provides for audits following primary, general, and school board elections. According to the statute, “all results” are audited as part of the audits of randomly selected voting devices. A portion of the randomly selected election districts, will also audit all results. However, the statute also specifies that one set of randomly selected election districts will only audit one randomly selected statewide race. See “Audit Comprehensiveness” for further details.
The Department of Elections is tasked with developing procedures if an audit reveals a discrepancy, including the threshold that triggers specific action and what corrective actions need to be taken.
As of October 2020, the Department had proposed regulations (23 DE Reg. 727), but not yet finalized them. In the proposed regulations, if the audit results reveal a discrepancy of greater than 0.5% from the certified results totals, “additional audits” of the voting machine exhibiting the discrepancy and additional “testing and analysis” of this machine will take place. If, following these actions, the discrepancy is still unresolved, further review and testing of the impacted voting machine will be conducted. An additional audit will also be conducted of another randomly selected voting machine used in the same election. If, after these actions, the discrepancy remains unresolved, the state will take further actions to examine and test the voting equipment.
For recount laws, see Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota website
The audit is completed after results are finalized. Specifically, within forty-eight (48) hours after the certification of results for the first audit, and within sixty (60) days of the certification of results for the second audit.
Binding On Official Results
The audit results are not binding on official results. The audit is held in two stages. The first is conducted within forty-eight (48) hours after the certification of results. The second set of audits takes place within sixty (60) days of the certification of results.
Oversight & Conduct
The Department of Elections conducts the audit.
“Immediately after the election, and within the two (2) days immediately following, all voting materials must be stored in a safe and secure place provided by the Department. While the board of canvass is conducting its canvass of the vote, all voting materials must be in the custody of the Prothonotary. After the canvass is completed, the Prothonotary shall turn custody of the voting materials over to the Department, who shall leave the voted paper ballots and all documentation extracted from the media containing the election results undisturbed and locked for twenty-two (22) months after the day of the election.” For more information see, 15 Del.C. § 4980.
Additional Targeted Samples
Statute does not provide for targeted samples. However, as of October 2020, the Department of Elections had not yet finalized its procedures to address audit discrepancies.