State Audit Laws Searchable Database

State Audit Laws - Alaska

This information was updated in September 2013 and reviewed in March 2017.

State Summary:

Signed into law 2005, Alaska's audit is conducted for the entire ballot. The audit is a hand-count of all ballots from one randomly selected precinct in each of the state's 40 house districts that accounts for 5% of the votes cast in the district. Audit results are binding on official results but do not lead to a full recount. Alaska's audit provisions are found at Alaska Stat. §15.15.430.

Transparency:

Statutes specify that only designated observers can be present
Statutes require that audit results and data be made public
Statutes specify that observers can verify marks on the ballots


The Director of Elections is required to publish "any changes resulting from [the audit]" online. See Alaska Stat. §15.15.430, "Scope of the Review of Ballot Counting". Appointed representatives from each political party are required to be present at the audit. See Alaska Stat. §15.15.420, "Duty to Review the Ballot Counting".

Alaska Stat. §15.10.170 states: "The watcher may be present at a position inside the place of voting or counting that affords a full view of all action of the election officials taken from the time the polls are opened until the ballots are finally counted and the results certified by the election board or the data processing review board."

Voting Systems Used:

Mixed paper ballot and DREs with VVPAT

Precinct-count optical scanner or hand counted paper ballots with at least one touchscreen DRE in each polling place for accessibility. For details visit the Alaska page on The Verifier.

Binding:

Audit results binding upon official results

While the law governing the Alaska's "ballot counting review" does not explicitly state that the results of the review are binding on the official results, the inclusion of the review as part of the pre-certification process and the relevant language suggests that this is the case. "The director shall close the review when the director is satisfied that no missing precinct certificate of election would, if received, change the result of the election." See Alaska Stat. §15.15.450, "Certification of State Ballot Counting Review".

Addressing Discrepancies and Continuing the Audit:

Statutes specify criteria to expand the audit (up to a full recount)

If discrepancies "of more than one percent" are found during the audit, the State Director of Elections is to recount by hand all the ballots from that precinct. Similarly, the director is given discretion to complete a full hand count of ballots in each precinct where any unexplained discrepancy is found. See Alaska Stat. §15.15.430, Subsections (b) and (c).

Audit Comprehensiveness:

Absentee ballots included in audit
Ballots counted by hand on election day included in the audit
Provisional ballots included in audit

Both absentee ballots and provisional ballots are to be included in the audit. See Alaska Stat. §15.15.430, Subsection (a)(3).

Additional Targeted Samples:

No statutory guidance for additional targeted samples

See Alaska Stat. §15.15.430, Subsection (c).

Contests and Issues Audited:

Every contest and ballot issue voted on the ballot is audited
Primary elections audited

While Alaska's law does not explicitly specify, the laws pertaining to reviews of ballots appear to apply to all elections, primary general, and special elections.

Type of Audit Units:

Precincts/districts

Alaska uses a fixed percentage approach, auditing a randomly drawn precinct from each house district that accounts for at least five percent of the ballots cast in that district. See Alaska Stat. §15.15.430, Subsection (a)(3).

Counting Method:

Hand count

"[U]nless the ballot for the house district contains nothing but uncontested offices, a hand count of ballots from one randomly selected precinct in each house district that accounts for at least five percent of the ballots cast in that district." See Alaska Stat. §15.15.430, Subsection (a)(3).

Oversight and Conduct of Audit:
The State Director of Elections oversees the audit, which is conducted by local election officials and State Ballot Counting Review Board members.

Timeline for Audit:
The audit is to begin "as soon as practicable after the election is completed," and no later than 16 days after the election takes place. See Alaska Stat. §15.15.440, "State Ballot Counting Review".

Additional Resources:


Alaska Division of Elections
Alaska Statutes - Title 15 - Elections (2016)
Alaska Election Security Report, Phase 3 - Alaska Division of Elections (2012)



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