Audit Laws

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Audit Laws

State Summary

Kentucky statute requires a “manual recount of randomly selected precincts representing 3% to 5% of the total ballots cast in each election” as part of the official canvass. Although the statute requires the State Board of Elections to develop rules and regulations for this procedure, we could not identify applicable language in the Kentucky Administrative Regulations (see, Title 31, State Board of Elections).

Unless otherwise specified, statutory references are to Ky. Rev. Stat. §117.383.

Voting Systems Used

Most Kentucky counties use hand marked paper ballots and optical scanners in polling places, with ballot marking devices or paperless DRE voting machines 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.

Audit Comprehensiveness

The audit consists of randomly selected precincts representing 3 to 5% of the total ballots cast in each election. However, some counties in Kentucky use DRE voting machines with no paper trail, making a manual audit of those votes impossible. Statute does not specify whether mail and provisional ballots are included in the audit.


The manual audit takes place during the canvass, and representatives from the news media may be present. Statute does not provide for public observation, nor for publication of the audit results. See, Ky. Rev. Stat. §117.275(9) and Ky. Rev. Stat. §117.305(1).

Audit Counting Method

While the statute specifies that the audit is to be manual (hand counted), many counties in Kentucky use DRE machines without VVPAT for accessibility, so a complete manual audit cannot be conducted.

Type Of Audit Units

The manual audit samples precincts that contain 3% to 5% of the total ballots cast.

Contests & Issues Audited

Statute does not specify what contests are audited.

Addressing Discrepancies

The statute does not specify how the canvass is to proceed if the audit finds counting errors.

For recount laws, see Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota website.


The audit is to be conducted as part of the official canvass, but no other specific timing requirements are found in the statute.

Binding On Official Outcomes

The audit is conducted “as part of the official canvass.” The statute is silent on how the canvass is to proceed if the audit finds counting errors.

Oversight & Conduct

The State Board of Elections oversees the audit while the manual count is conducted by county officials as part of the canvass.

Ballot Protection

Kentucky administrative regulations establish procedures for maintaining security in the election process. See, 31 Ky. Admin. Rgs. 6:040. For more information on chain of custody of voting equipment and ballots see also, Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 117.275.

Additional Targeted Samples

Statute does not provide for targeted samples as part of the audit. However, any precinct or set of precincts may be re-canvassed if the county clerk or county board of elections “takes notice of a discrepancy in the tally of votes,” or upon a written request by a candidate. The re-canvass is described as comprising “the voting machines and absentee ballots”; the statute does not explicitly authorize hand-marked ballots cast in polling places to be manually examined. See, Ky. Rev. Stat. §117.305.

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