West Virginia enacted its audit statute in 2005. It provides for all items on the ballot to be audited; at least three percent of the precincts are chosen at random for the audit and counted manually. The Board of Canvassers conducts the audit as part of the canvass. The audit results are binding upon official results and may lead to a full recount of the voter-verified paper audit trail.
Unless otherwise specified, statutory references are to West Virginia State Rule 153-18.
Voting Systems Used
In 2020, West Virginia primarily used either DRE voting machines with VVPAT paper records or ballot marking devices for all voters in polling places statewide; in 2022, most West Virginia counties will primarily use ballot marking devices for all voters, with some jurisdictions still fielding DREs with VVPAT for all voters or as accessible systems. 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.
West Virginia audits optical scan ballots as well as DREs with VVPAT. See, WV Code § 3-4A-13. According to WV Code, § 3-5-15 absentee ballots must be received by Election Day, so they are included in the audit.
At least 3% of the precincts are to be chosen at random and the voter-verified paper ballots are to be counted manually. See, WV Code, §3-4A-28(d).
The audit is conducted during the canvass, which is open to the public. The random selection of precincts must be conducted during a public meeting. See, WV Code, §3-4A-27(a). and page 88 of the Manual for Election Officials of West Virginia.
Discrepancies revealed in the audit “shall immediately be disclosed to the public.” See WV Code § 3-4A-28.
Audit Counting Method
The audit is conducted using a hand count.
Type Of Audit Units
West Virginia uses randomly selected precincts as audit units.
The audit is expanded to a full manual count of all voter-verified paper ballots if the results of the audit show discrepancies that differ by more than one percent from the initial count, or that show a different outcome for an election contest. “After the hand count of each precinct is recorded, the board shall compare the recorded tallies with the tabulated results of the same precincts. . . . if the difference between the tabulated results . . . and the hand counted results of the same ballots is more than 1% of the total votes cast, all precincts must be hand counted.” (The statute does not address whether an audit can expand directly to a statewide hand count.)
For recount laws, see Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota website.
The audit is conducted during the canvass, and must be completed before certification.
Binding On Official Outcomes
“After the canvassing procedures have been completed for all precincts, the board shall re-total the votes cast for each candidate and for or against every issue. The board shall then declare the resulting totals and enter each total into the record of the canvass.” Because the audit is part of the canvassing procedures, its results become canvass results.
Oversight & Conduct
The Board of Canvassers both oversees and conducts the audit.
Two election commissioners of different registered party affiliations or two special messengers of different political parties appointed by the clerk of the county commission are jointly responsible for delivering the ballot box or container to the clerk of the county commission at the central counting center and receiving a signed receipt. For more information see, WV Code Ann. § 3-1-22 and WV Code Ann. § 3-4A-19(k).
Additional Targeted Samples
Statute does not provide for targeted samples.