Kentucky

Kentucky

Audit Laws

Back to Audit Law Database

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. In 2021, the statute was revised to add a requirement that the State Board of Elections develop regulations to “provide for conducting and review of an election audit, including a risk-limiting audit, and risk-limiting audit pilot program.” Although the statute requires the State Board of Elections to develop rules and regulations for these procedures, 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. Information included below relates to the 3% to 5% audit.

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. In 2021, Ky. Rev. Stat. §117.125 was revised to require voting systems approved for use in the state after June 29, 2021 to “[u]se an individual, discrete, permanent, paper ballot cast by the voter for tabulating purposes.” 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 for accessibility, making a manual audit of those votes impossible. Statute does not specify whether mail and provisional ballots are included in the audit.

Transparency

The audit takes place during the canvass, and representatives from the news media may be present as well as representatives designated by political parties or candidates. Statute does not provide for public observation, nor for publication of the audit results. See, Ky. Rev. Stat. §117.275(9).

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

Contests & Issues Audited

The 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.

Timeline

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.” A recanvass is also authorized upon a written request by a candidate, if “the difference between the number of votes received by the requesting candidate and the number of votes received by any other candidate or candidates for the same office is less than one percent (1%) of the total votes which were cast for such office.” The re-canvass is described as comprising “the voting equipment, valid federal provisional ballots, valid federal provisional absentee ballots, 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.

Donate to Verified Voting

A strong and healthy democracy depends on the security of our elections. Join us and help ensure that every vote counts.

Join Our Mailing List

The election landscape is constantly changing and full of complexities. We’ll keep you informed on what’s happening, and what we’re doing to make elections accurate and secure.