State Audit Laws Searchable Database

State Audit Laws - Missouri

This information was updated March 2014 and reviewed in March 2017.

State Summary:

Put in place by the Secretary of State in 1990, Missouri's audit rule requires an audit for a large number of local, state-wide, and federal contests, as well as any contest within a certain close vote margin. Audit results are binding on the official election results, but they do not lead to a full recount. Unless otherwise noted, all citations below are to the Missouri Code of State Regulations (CRS), Title 15, "Elected Officials," Division 30, Rule 30-10.110, "Manual recount."(pdf).


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

The random selection of precincts is open to the public. See 15 Mo. Code of State Regs. §30-10.110(2). However, there is no other guidance in statutes or rules regarding the public or appointed observers' ability to watch the counting during the audit process. The results of the audit are to be kept in the public records of the election. See 15 Mo. Code of State Regs. §30-10.110 (6).

Voting Systems Used:

Mixed paper ballot and DREs with VVPAT

Optical scanners are deployed as a primary voting system statewide. Some counties provide DREs with VVPAT for accessibility and/or as an additional voting method while others use ballot marking devices. For details visit the Missouri page on The Verifier.


Audit results binding upon official results

15 Mo. Code of State Regs. §30-10.110(2) requires audits to take place prior to the certification of the election results, and 15 Mo. Code of State Regs. §30-10.110(4) requires the audit recount team to investigate the causes of any discrepancy and resolve any discrepancies prior to the date of certification in instances where the results of the manual recount of the selected races and ballot issues differ by more than one-half of one percent (0.5%) from the results of the electronically tabulated vote results. The audit results become part of the certified returns sent to the Secretary of State. The certified returns from the local election authority are the official election returns.

Addressing Discrepancies and Continuing the Audit:

No statutory guidance for expanding the audit

The local election authority is to "investigate" and "resolve" any discrepancies. There is no provision for expanding the audit. See the preceding section on "Binding" for the handling of discrepancies under regulation 15 Mo. Code of State Regs. §30-10.110(4).

Audit Comprehensiveness:

Ballots counted by hand on election day included in the audit
No statutory guidance for either early, absentee or provisional ballots

There is no language in Missouri's statutes restricting the audit at any precinct to votes cast on machines. However, there is similarly no language to ensure that absentee, early voted ballots, or provisional ballots are included in the audit.

Additional Targeted Samples:

No statutory guidance for additional targeted samples

Contests and Issues Audited:

Federal election contests audited
Local election contests audited
Randomly selected election contests or ballots issue are audited
Statewide election contests audited

Contests are randomly selected, but must include one of either the presidential, US Senate, or state-wide candidates; a state-wide ballot issue; a US congressional or state general assembly candidate; a partisan circuit, associate circuit, or nonpartisan judicial retention candidate; and one local contest from the county. See 15 Mo. Code of State Regs. §30-10.110  (3)(B) and (3)(C).

Additional contests with close vote margins are also selected for auditing. Any contest in which the margin of victory between the top two candidates is equal or less than 0.5% must be audited. See 115 Mo. Code of State Regs. §30-10.110 (3)(C)(6).

Type of Audit Units:


No less than 5% of all election precincts must be audited. See 15 Mo. Code of State Regs. §30-10.110 (2).

Counting Method:

Hand count

See 15 Mo. Code of State Regs. §30-10.110(2).

Oversight and Conduct of Audit: Local election officials conduct the audit, while the random selection is conducted by the Secretary of State. Oversight is handled by the Secretary of State and the Accuracy Certification Team.

Timeline for Audit: The random selection of precincts must take place before the certification of election results. There are no further requirements regarding when the audit itself must begin or be completed.

Additional Resources:

Missouri Revised Statutes - Title IX - Elections
Missouri Secretary of State