All jurisdictions and all validly cast ballots, including absentee, mail-in and accepted provisional ballots, must be taken into account. No contest should be excluded a priori from auditing, although some contests may be prioritized.

Best Practices

  1. All types of ballots, even those used by few voters, are subject to random selection for auditing — taking care to preserve ballot anonymity. Alternatively, the audit can be designed to omit certain ballots from the random selection as long as they are treated in the audit calculations in the way that casts the most doubt on the outcome (e.g., in a two-candidate plurality contest, as if each ballot were voted for the reported loser). These ballot types may include overseas and military ballots, telephone ballots, ballots transmitted over the internet, ballots cast through accessible interfaces, and other ballots for which paper artifacts verifiable by the voter are not available to the auditors, including ballots that must be withheld from the audit to protect the anonymity of the voter.
  2. The ballots from all jurisdictions involved in a contest are subject to audit. Because the type of equipment in each jurisdiction may vary, the audit method may differ between jurisdictions, but the statistical analysis is based on the audit results for all jurisdictions.
  3. All contests are subject to some degree of possible auditing, but the audit may prioritize some contests.

(Adapted from Principles and Best Practices for Post-Election Tabulation Audits, 2018)