Indiana’s audit law, first passed in 1986, allows for an audit of the entire ballot; however, audits do not lead to a full recount. Audits in Indiana are not mandatory but rather occur under specific circumstances, depending on the type of voting system in use. The Secretary of State may also designate counties as risk-limiting audit pilot counties.
The county chair of a major political party may request an audit of optical scan ballots (“ballot card voting systems”). The request must be made between the Saturday before an election and the Thursday following it. The party chair may request an audit of no more than 5% of the precincts or five precincts in the county, whichever is greater. (Ind. Code §3-11-13-38.)
Audits of DRE voting machines occur only if a discrepancy exceeding the “audit threshold” is identified between the number of votes cast and the number of voters who received a ballot, according to the poll books. If such a discrepancy occurs, the county election board or secretary of state may order an audit of all votes cast in that precinct or vote center. (Ind. Code §3-12-3.5-8.)
State statute provides limited guidance on how audits are carried out, referring only to tests and procedures that are approved by the commission independent of the provider of the voting system being audited. (Ind. Code §3-11-13-39.) Moreover, most of the DRE voting systems in the state are paperless and, while counties may no longer purchase or lease DREs without VVPAT, they may still be used. (Ind. Code §3-11-14-2.)
Indiana Senate Bill 405 (2019) established a risk-limiting audit pilot program, adding a chapter on risk-limiting audits to Indiana code. (Ind. Code §3-12-13.) This chapter gives the secretary of state the authority to develop rules for risk-limiting audits and determine which elections are to be audited. For a county to be designated as a risk-limiting audit pilot county, the county election board must adopt a resolution requesting that the secretary of state designate the county as a risk-limiting audit pilot county. SB 405 also introduced a chapter on procedural audits to Indiana code. ( Ind.Code §3-12-14.) The secretary of state, with the consent of the co-directors of the election division, may require a procedure audit of an election to be conducted if there is an investigation of the election or a recount. (Ind. Code §3-6; Ind. Code §3-12.)
Voting Systems Used
Most Indiana counties use DREs for all voters — most of these DREs are not equipped with VVPAT. Some counties field BMDs for all voters and others use paper ballots for most voters, with BMDs or DREs for accessibility. For the most up to date information please visit Verified Voting’s Verifier.
For an explanation on the types of voting equipment used, click here.
Indiana has different audit provisions depending on the type of voting system in use. State statute is silent regarding inclusion of early, absentee, and provisional ballots in the audit.
For optical scan ballots, the county chairman of either of the major political parties in the county may request an audit of no more than 5% of the precincts or five precincts, whichever is greater. The request is limited to precincts that use optically scanned paper ballots. (Ind. Code §3-11-13-38.) For an audit of DRE voting machines, which occur only if a discrepancy exceeding the “audit threshold” is identified between the number of votes cast on DREs and the number of voters who were checked in on poll books, the county election board or the secretary of state may order an audit of all the votes cast in that precinct. (Ind. Code §3-12-3.5-8.) Before ordering an audit, the county election board must recheck the computations reported by the inspector and judge.
The public must be notified of the time and place of the audit at least forty-eight hours before it begins. (Ind. Code §3-11-13-41.)
If an audit is conducted of DREs, the secretary of state must publish a report stating whether the results of the audit indicate that the discrepancy was the result of human error, intentional violations of election laws, unknown causes, or a combination of factors. (Ind. Code § 3-12-3.5-8.)
Audit Counting Method
The statute does not specify the counting method. However, Ind. Code §3-11-13-39 and §3-12-3.5-8 call for audits of both optical scan ballots and DREs “by means of tests and procedures that are approved by the commission and independent of the provider of the [ballot card or direct record electronic] voting system being audited.”
Type Of Audit Units
In Indiana, precincts are the audit units.
Contests & Issues Audited
Audits of optical scan ballots are to be conducted “for each candidate and each public question.” (Ind. Code §3-11-13-37.)The statute does not explicitly limit the type of election for which a party chairman may request an audit, suggesting that both primary and general elections may be audited.
For audits of DRE voting systems, Ind. Code §3-12-3.5-8 similarly suggests that all elections and contests may be audited.
The statute does not provide guidance on this matter.
For recount laws, see the Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota website.
For audits of optical scan ballots, a petition for an audit must be made “no earlier than the Saturday before an election and no later than the Thursday after an election. (Ind. Code §3-11-13-38.)The audit results must be certified within twelve days of the election. (Ind. Code 3-11-13-40.)
The results of audits of DREs must be certified within thirty days of the election. (Ind. Code §3-12-3.5-7.)
Binding On Official Outcomes
While Indiana’s audit provisions do not provide guidance for expanding the audit, statute does allow election officials to correct errors they identify in the certification of the vote for a candidate or on a public question if the error is discovered before the final date and hour for the filing of a recount or contest. (Ind. Code §3-12-5-14.)
Oversight & Conduct
County election officials conduct audits of optical scan paper ballots or DREs. Either the county election board or secretary of state may order an audit of DREs if there is a sufficiently large discrepancy between the number of votes cast and voters recorded, while audits of paper ballots occur if a party chair who petitions the county election board for an audit. The secretary of state retains the authority to designate the risk-limiting audit pilot counties and develop rules governing RLAs.
Paper ballots must be counted immediately after polls close and must be processed immediately at the precinct or a central location open to the public, depending on the type of system used. (Ind. Code §3-12-2-1; Ind. Code §3-12-3-2.) DRE printouts must be read immediately and the memory cards must be removed and transported to the county election board. (Ind. Code §§3-11-14-30-31).
Additional Targeted Samples
The statute does not address targeted samples.