Post-Election Audits

Post-election audits promote public confidence in election outcomes.

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.

Click here for the latest news from Verified Voting about Post-Election Audits.

What Is A Risk-Limiting Audit?

A Risk-Limiting Audit (RLA) is a post-election tabulation audit that manually checks a random sample of voters’ ballots. The idea is simple: RLAs provide evidence that the computers counted the ballots accurately. They provide reassurance when outcomes are right, as well as protection against hacks and errors that could produce wrong results.


Audit Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about post-election audits in general. Topics include legislation, implementation, and oversight, as well as links to tools and more reading material on auditing.

Audit Publications

What Is a Risk-Limiting Audit?

Fundamentals of an RLA, including what is needed to conduct an RLA and how an RLA differs from other types of audits.

Differences Between RLA Methods

Overview of three RLA methods: ballot-level comparison, batch comparison, and ballot polling.

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Are You Ready To Audit?

A checklist for audit implementation.

Good vs. Ugly: True Audits vs. Sham Reviews

How to spot the difference between true post-election audits and sham reviews.

Flowchart For Conducting RLAs

Verified Voting’s flowchart for conducting Risk-Limiting Audits.

Checking the Paper Record

Provides a guide for the public oversight of audits.

Principles & Best Practices

Details principles and best practices meant to guide the regulation and design of high-quality post-election audits.

Who we are

Risk-Limiting Audits Coalition FAQ

Answers to frequently asked questions specifically on RLAs. Defines what “risk” signifies in an RLA and details different RLA methods.

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.

Auditing builds
voter confidence.

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
ballots unnecessarily.

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.

RLAs are
statistically sound.

The American Statistical Association endorses and recommends risk-limiting audits. When risk-limiting audit procedures are followed, there is only a limited chance that an incorrectly reported outcome could go undetected.

RLAs are

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.

Click here to view the Audit Law Database.

Contact Us

Please email if your jurisdiction would like to conduct an audit or to direct any questions to our audit team.

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