After an election (by implication, every type of election) and prior to certification, the county election officer shall conduct a manual audit or tally of each vote cast, regardless of the method of voting, in 1% of precincts, with a minimum of one precinct located within the county. The precinct or precincts shall be randomly selected. The specific contests to be audited depend on the election year, but typically include a mix of statewide and smaller contests (see “Contests Audited” below).
The audit law allows the county clerk or secretary of state to audit additional precincts if discrepancies are found. The results of the audit are binding upon official results.
Unless otherwise specified, statutory references are to K.S.A. 25-3009.
Voting Systems Used
Most Kansas counties use hand marked paper ballots with optical scanners and ballot marking devices for accessibility. Other counties field BMDs for all voters, hybrid BMD/tabulators, hand marked paper ballots with DREs without VVPAT for accessibility, or DREs with VVPAT for all voters. 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.
It is implied that early and provisional ballots are included. According to the statute, “The audit shall be performed manually and shall review all paper ballots selected” according to the random selection of precincts, “regardless of the method of voting.”
At least five days prior to the audit, notice of the time and location of the audit shall be provided to the public on the official county website. The audit shall be conducted in a public setting. Any candidate or entity who is authorized to appoint a poll agent may appoint a poll agent for the audit. No mention is made as to whether observers are able to verify ballot marks.
Audit Counting Method
The audit is conducted manually. Note that one Kansas county uses paperless DREs for accessibility, meaning these votes cannot be audited.
Type Of Audit Units
Kansas uses precincts as audit units. The county election officer shall conduct a manual audit or tally of each vote cast, regardless of the method of voting, in 1% of precincts, with a minimum of one precinct located within the county. The precinct or precincts shall be randomly selected.
Contests & Issues Audited
In a presidential election year, one federal race; one state legislative race; and one county race are audited. In even numbered non-presidential election years, one federal race; one statewide race; one state legislative race; and one county race are audited. (The statute does not specify how these contests are selected.) In odd-numbered election years, two local races will be randomly selected and the selection shall take place after the election.
If a discrepancy is reported between the audit and the unofficial returns and cannot be resolved, the county election officer or the Secretary of State may require audits of additional precincts. (Statute is silent as to whether the Secretary can require additional audits in counties other than the one(s) where discrepancies are discovered.) Once the additional audit has been completed, the results of the audit shall be used by the county board of canvassers when certifying the official election results.
For recount laws, see Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota website.
The audit will be conducted before certification of the election.
Binding On Official Outcomes
The results of the audit shall be used by the county board of canvassers when certifying the official election results. (It is not clear whether an audit can alter the outcome of a statewide or multi-county contest.)
Oversight & Conduct
The Secretary of State adopts rules and regulations governing the conduct and procedure of the audit while county election officers conduct the audits.
Ballot boxes are to be locked securely at the polling location. The supervising judge at each polling place is responsible for returning all election supplies, valid ballots, blank ballots, tally sheets, poll books, etc, to the county election officer after the count has been completed. See K.S.A 25-2705 and 25-3007.
Additional Targeted Samples
The audit law allows the county clerk or secretary of state to audit additional precincts if discrepancies are found.