Separation of Responsibilities

Neither the policy and regulation setting for the audit, nor the authority to judge whether an audit has satisfied those regulations, shall be solely in the hands of any entity directly involved with the tabulation of the ballots or the examination of ballots during the audit.

Best Practices

  1. Where state or local election officials are directly involved in ballot tabulation or handling ballots during an audit, some other entity or entities establishes the high-level audit policies — such as how to determine the contests and number of audit units to be audited, and how to select the particular audit units. This entity might be the legislature, an existing state agency (e.g., the Department of State or the Auditor’s Office), or a new independent commission.
  2. When an official directly involved with the audit is up for election, that official considers recusal from audit-related duties to the extent possible.
  3. Both high-level audit policies and detailed procedures are determined in consultation with the officials who directly participate in the tabulation and auditing of ballots.

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