State Audit Laws Searchable Database

State Audit Laws - Arizona

This information was updated in March 2017.

State Summary:

Signed into law 2006, Arizona's audit law calls for one federal, one statewide, and one legislative contest to be audited, in addition to one ballot measure and the presidential contest. Arizona's audit regulations and procedures are found at Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602. General election procedures are found in the Arizona Election Procedure Manual (pdf).


No statutory guidance allowing observers to verify ballot marks
Statutes require that audit results and data be made public
Statutes specify that audits must be conducted publicly

"Political party observers are distinguished from members of the general public who may view the central count facility activities from the public viewing area …"  See page 184 of the Arizona Election Procedure Manual. In addition, party representatives may bring their own video equipment to record the audit. See Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602 (B).

Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602 (B)(1) states that the unofficial vote totals from all precincts shall be made public before selecting the precincts to be hand counted, and Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602 (I) requires that the results of the hand counts be made publicly available on the Secretary of State's website.

Voting Systems Used:

Mixed paper ballot and DREs with VVPAT

Arizona uses precinct-count optical scanners in polling places statewide. Some counties provide DREs for accessibility, while others use ballot marking devices. For details visit the Arizona page on The Verifier.


Audit results binding upon official results

The audit is binding only when it leads to a full recount. "If the expanded hand count results in a difference in that race that is less than the designated margin when compared to the electronic tabulation of those same ballots, the electronic tabulation constitutes the official count for that race." See Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602 (D).

Addressing Discrepancies and Continuing the Audit:

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

Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602, Subsections C, D and E. A committee made up of seven persons with expertise in "mathematics, statistics, random selection methods, systems operations or voting systems," and without any affiliation in at least five years with election equipment companies, establishes designated margins for each contest to be used during the audit to determine when the audit should be expanded. These margins are determined before the election takes place. See Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602 (K) and

Audit Comprehensiveness:

Ballots counted by hand on election day included in the audit
Early voted ballots included in audit

Ballots cast in the polling place are counted in the audit of randomly selected precincts. Provisional ballots are explicitly excluded from the audit. See Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602 (B)(1). Early voted ballots are counted in a separate audit. See Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602 (F).

Additional Targeted Samples:

No statutory guidance for additional targeted samples

Contests and Issues Audited:

Federal election contests audited
Local election contests audited
Predetermined election contests or ballot issues are audited
Primary elections audited
Randomly selected election contests or ballots issue are audited
Statewide election contests audited

The choice of election contests to be audited is not completely random, as the presidential race is always audited, and as one of each of several types of office (one federal, one statewide, one legislative) must be audited, though the particular contest is chosen at random. One ballot measure is also to be audited. See Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602 (B).

Type of Audit Units:


At least 2% of precincts in each county, or two precincts, whichever is greater, is audited. See Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602 (B)(1). For early voted ballots, 1% of the total number of such ballots or 5,000 such ballots, whichever is less, is audited. These ballots are grouped by batches to ensure that ballots from each early voting machine are included. See Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602 (F).

Counting Method:

Hand count

See Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602 (B) (2).

Oversight and Conduct of Audit: Oversight is handled by the Secretary of State, while the audit is conducted by both county election officials and party representatives appointed by the county party chairperson. See Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602 (B)(7).

Timeline for Audit: "The hand counts prescribed by this section shall begin within twenty-four hours after the closing of the polls and shall be completed before the canvassing of the election for that county. The results of those hand counts shall be provided to the secretary of state, who shall make those results publicly available on the secretary of state's website." See Arizona Rev. Stat. §16-602 (I).

Additional Resources:

Arizona Secretary of State
Arizona Revised Statutes - Title 16 - Elections
Arizona Elections Procedures Manual (2014)