Welcome to the Verified Voting State Audit Law Database, 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 May 2017.
Why Audit Election Results? No voting system is perfect. Nearly all votes cast in US elections today are tabulated using electronic voting systems. Such voting systems have produced result-changing errors through problems with hardware, software, and procedures.
The search fields in the State Audit Law Database are largely based on the Principles and Best Practices for Post-Election Audits developed by ElectionAudits.org. A description of the search parameters follows. A post-election audit (also referred to as an "audit"), is defined in the Principles document as "hand-counting votes on paper records and comparing those counts to the corresponding vote counts originally reported, as a check on the accuracy of election results, and resolving discrepancies using accurate hand counts of the paper records as the benchmark."
Transparency: Elections belong to the public. The public must be allowed to observe, verify, and point out procedural mistakes in all phases of the audit without interfering with the process. The State Audit Law Database tracks the transparency of state audit regulations on the following factors: whether audits and the results of the audit are conducted and reported publicly and whether access is provided to citizen observers to verify ballot marks.
Voting Systems Used: What types of voting systems are in use in the state and what types of records are available for a post-election audit. The search parameters indicate generalized descriptions of the systems used in a particular state. Details of the voting equipment used to tabulate votes in each state can be found at The Verifier.
Binding: Post-election audits must be completed prior to finalizing official election results and must either verify the outcome or, through a 100% recount, correct the outcome. The search parameters indicate whether a state's laws and regulations mandate that audit results are binding on the official results.
Addressing Discrepancies and Continuing the Audit: When discrepancies are found, additional counting and/or other investigation may be necessary to determine the election outcome or to find the cause of the discrepancies. The search parameters indicate whether state laws and regulations provide guidance for expanding an audit if discrepancies with official results are discovered.
Audit Comprehensiveness: All jurisdictions and all ballot types, including absentee, mail-in and accepted provisional ballots, should be subject to the selection process. The search parameters indicate the types of ballots included in post election audits.
Additional Targeted Samples: Including a limited number of additional targeted samples of ballots can increase audit effectiveness and public confidence. Such samples may be selected by candidates, issue committees, parties, election administrators, or others as provided by regulation. The serach parameters indicate whether a state allows for the inclusion of targeted samples.
Contests and Issues Audited: Some states require audits of only specific contests or issues while others call for all contests and issues on the ballot to be audited.
Types of Audit Units: State audit laws and regulations vary regarding the selection of ballots to be audited: by randomly selected batches, by precinct, by machine, or by some other method.
Counting Method: Ideally, post-election audits use hand-to-eye counts of voter-marked, voter-verified paper ballots. Where such paper ballots are not available, other forms of voter-verifiable paper records should be used. Generally state audit laws call for either manual counts, in which all audited ballots are counted by hand; machine counts, in which ballots are re-scanned; or a mixture of the two methods. Recently some states have allowed for automated, electronic audits in which digital representations of ballots are audited.
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