West Virginia

West Virginia

Audit Laws

Audit Laws

State Summary

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.

The audit provisions are found in WV Code, §3-4A-28 and West Virginia State Rule 153-18. See also, 2020 Best Practices Guide for Canvass.

Unless otherwise specified, statutory references are to West Virginia State Rule 153-18.

Voting Systems Used

As of 2020, West Virginia primarily uses either DRE voting machines with VVPAT paper records or ballot marking devices for all voters in polling places statewide. 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

West Virginia audits optical scan ballots as well as DRE VVPATs. 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).

Transparency

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.

Contests & Issues Audited

Every contest and ballot issue on the ballot is audited. WV Code, §3-4A-28(d) and WV State Rule 153-18-7.

Addressing Discrepancies

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.

Timeline

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.

Ballot Protection

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.

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