Post-Election Audits

Post-election audits promote public confidence in election outcomes.

About Post-Election Audits

Post-election tabulation audits can provide solid evidence that election outcomes are correct.

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.

more

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.
more

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.

contact us

Are You Ready To Audit?

A checklist for audit implementation.

RLA Communications Guide

Intended for election officials, this guide helps explain RLAs to constituents, the press, and other key stakeholders.

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.

tests

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
flexible.

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.

Contact Us

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

Donate to Verified Voting

A strong and healthy democracy depends on the security of our elections. Join us and help ensure that every vote counts.

Join Our Mailing List

The election landscape is constantly changing and full of complexities. We’ll keep you informed on what’s happening, and what we’re doing to make elections accurate and secure.