Audit Laws

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Audit Laws

State Summary

Under Md. Code, Elec. Law § 11-309, following each statewide general election (and optionally after statewide primary elections), the State Board of Elections conducts a manual audit of at least 2% of precincts, plus at least 1% of each of the following: early votes, absentee votes, and provisional votes. The State Board also conducts an “automated software audit” of ballot images after each statewide primary and general election. However, the manual audit may be completed up to 120 days after the election, and the audits cannot affect the certified results.

Unless otherwise specified, statutory references are to Md. Code, Elec. Law § 11-309.

Voting Systems Used

Maryland primarily uses hand-marked paper ballots and optical scanners in polling places statewide, with ballot marking devices for accessibility. For the most current information please visit Verified Voting’s Verifier.

For an explanation on the types of voting equipment used, click here.

Audit Comprehensiveness

The manual audit includes Election Day votes from at least 2% of precincts statewide, including one randomly chosen precinct in each county, and at least 1% of the statewide total of early votes, absentee votes, and provisional votes in the previous comparable election.


The statute states that the State Board “shall allow for public observation of each part of the manual audit process to the extent practicable.” Md. Code, Elec. Law § 11-309(d)(5). It does not specify whether random selection is considered part of the manual audit process. It also requires a detailed report on the manual audit within 14 days of its conclusion.

Audit Counting Method

Statute specifies that in the manual audit the voter-verifiable paper records are inspected “by hand and eye to obtain vote totals in a contest that are compared to the vote totals produced for that contest by the electronic voting system.”Md. Code, Elec. Law § 11-309(a)(2).

Type Of Audit Units

For (regular) Election Day ballots, statute specifies that the audit units are the entire precincts. For early, absentee, and provisional ballots, the statute does not specify the audit units.

Contests & Issues Audited

Statute does not specify what contests are audited.

Addressing Discrepancies

If a discrepancy is discovered by the manual audit the state board may expand the audit, or take any other actions necessary to resolve the discrepancy.

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


The manual audit must be completed by 120 days after the election.

Binding On Official Outcomes

The tabulation audit does not have any effect on certified results, but “shall be used to improve the voting system and process for future elections.”

Oversight & Conduct

The State Board conducts the manual audit and the review of ballot images.

Ballot Protection

The person designated to maintain custody of the documents and records required under this title shall maintain and secure those items in accordance with the regulations adopted by the State Board. See  Md. Code, Elec. Law § 11-306. For more information see COMAR, “System Security.”

Additional Targeted Samples

The statute does not provide for targeted samples, except through the discretion granted to the State Board to address audit discrepancies.

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