State Audit Laws Searchable Database

State Audit Laws - New York

This information was updated in November 2016 and reviewed in March 2017.

State Summary:

Signed into law in 2005, New York's audit law does not lead to a full recount but is binding upon the official results. All contests and propositions on the ballot for general elections are audited. While New York's Election Law is currently available in multiple forms online, neither website allows to link to individual sections. However, a searchable version is available here.

The entire Election Law may also be downloaded as a PDF. The primary sections relevant to audits are N.Y. Election Law §9-211, "Audit of voter verifiable audit records," and Section 6210.18 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations, "Three-percent (3%) audit."

Transparency:

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

There is no statute requiring that audits in New York be conducted publicly. Candidates, political parties, and independent bodies qualified to appoint watchers during registration and polling are likewise allowed to appoint observers for the audit. See N.Y. Election Law §9-211(1), Section 5-206 and Section 8-500.

Voting Systems Used:

Paper ballot

Precinct-count optical scanners and ballot marking devices are used statewide. For details visit the New York page on The Verifier.

Binding:

Audit results binding upon official results

N.Y. Election Law §9-211(4) states that if a "complete audit" is conducted, then its results "shall be used by the canvassing board in making the statement of canvass and determinations of persons elected and propositions rejected or approved." "Complete audit" here refers to a hand count of all the votes in a county that were initially cast and counted on voting machines. Because each county board conducts its audit independently, it is possible for a contest to be subject to a "complete audit" in some counties but not in others.  See also 9 N.Y. Comp. Rules & Regs. 6210.18(j).

Addressing Discrepancies and Continuing the Audit:

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

9 N.Y. Comp. Rules & Regs. 6210.18(c)(3) through (g), describes a staged escalation protocol for expanding the audit. At each stage, the audited is expanded if discrepancies of a certain magnitude are found:
Stage One: The first initial sample is audited again.
Stage Two: An additional 5% of machines are audited.
Stage Three: An additional 12% of machines are audited.
Stage Four: If discrepancies of a certain magnitude still exist after the additional 12% audit, "each county board shall manually count all voter verifiable paper audit trail records from all the remaining unaudited machines and systems where the contest appeared on the ballot." The state regulations also clearly empower any board of elections to conduct an audit if they believe one to be needed. See 9 N.Y. Comp. Rules & Regs. 6210.18(h).

Audit Comprehensiveness:

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

All language in the statutes and regulations regarding audits pertain to votes cast on voting machines.  Note that New York has a separate statute that requires a mandatory re-canvass, N.Y. Election Law §9-208, which includes the hand-counted ballots. See also N.Y. Election Law §9-209(2)(e).

Additional Targeted Samples:

No statutory guidance for additional targeted samples

Contests and Issues Audited:

Every contest and ballot issue voted on the ballot is audited
Federal election contests audited
Local election contests audited
Statewide election contests audited

New York's audit statute does not limit the audit to any particular election contests, and includes ballot propositions. Audits are for every primary, general, village and special election.

Type of Audit Units:

Machines

3% of voting machines or voting systems within the county board's jurisdiction are to be audited. See N.Y. Election Law §9-211(1).

Counting Method:

Mix of machine and hand count

Audits may be performed "manually or via the use of any automated tool authorized for such use by the state board of elections which is independent from the voting system it is being used to audit." See N.Y. Election Law §9-211(1).

Oversight and Conduct of Audit: While oversight of the audits comes from the New York State Board of Elections, the random selection is conducted by the county Board of Elections, who is also responsible for conducting the audit.

Timeline for Audit: The audit must be conducted within fifteen days after each general or special election, and within seven days after every primary or village election. See N.Y. Election Law §9-211(1).

Additional Resources:


Consolidated Laws of New York - Election Law
New York Election Law (PDF)
New York Board of Elections



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