About Post-Election Audits
Well-designed post-election tabulation audits can provide solid evidence to support the reported election outcome.
Nearly all U.S. votes today are counted by computerized voting systems. Such voting systems have produced outcome-changing errors through hardware, software, and procedural problems. Well-designed and properly performed post-election tabulation audits provide solid public evidence for the initial tabulation outcome when it is correct — and an opportunity to correct the outcome when it is not. In addition to detecting errors (whether accidental or intentional), good tabulation audits can deter hacking, malware, and fraud and help foster continuous improvement in elections administration.
Why Do a Tabulation Audit?
Because we can’t correct errors unless we know they happened.
Auditing can catch errors missed by other tests.
Logic and accuracy tests ensure machines are ready for election day, but intentional or accidental errors that occur after initial testing can go unnoticed.
Auditing provides a recovery plan for the vote count.
By preserving and then auditing voter-verified ballots, errors can be detected and corrected in a timely manner.
Routine tabulation audits ensure quality control in the tabulation process. Checking samples of voter-verified ballots gives voters assurance their ballots count.
Why Do a Risk-Limiting Audit?
RLAs strategically allocate resources while providing evidence-based assurance of contest outcomes.
RLAs avoid checking
Risk-limiting audits base the number of ballots selected on the specifics of the contest. Contests with a wide margin can be audited with very few ballots, freeing up resources for closer contests. In general, risk-limiting audits can be conducted with a modest amount of effort.
The American Statistical Association endorses and recommends risk-limiting audits. When risk-limiting audit procedures are followed, they give strong evidence to support the reported outcome (or trigger a recount).
There are different types of risk-limiting audits, all of which provide statistical accuracy and efficiency. RLAs can adapt to various kinds of voting systems, as long as there are voter-verified ballots to audit.
Audit Law Database
The Verified Voting State Audit Law Database is a resource that describes state laws, regulations and procedures for post-election audits. This database was originally created and maintained by Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota. The database migrated to Verified Voting in March 2017.