About Risk-Limiting Audits
A risk-limiting audit (RLA) checks a random sample of voter-verifiable paper ballots, seeking evidence that the reported election outcome was correct – if it was.
An RLA can stop as soon as it finds strong evidence that the reported outcome was correct. Or, if the reported outcome was wrong because ballots were miscounted, an RLA is very likely to lead to a full recount that corrects the outcome. Either way, RLAs provide reason to trust that the final outcome matches the ballots. Contests with wide margins can be audited with very few ballots, freeing up resources for auditing closer contests, which generally require checking more ballots.
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, there is only a limited chance that an incorrectly reported outcome could go undetected.
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.