State Audit Laws Searchable Database

State Audit Laws - Utah

This information was updated in March 2017.

State Summary:

Adopted in October of 2006, Utah's current audit law allows for all items on the ballot to be audited, but the audit is not binding on the official election results and cannot lead to a full recount. The main provision governing audits in Utah is Section 6 in an Election Policy Directive issued by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor in 2006. It is available for download  here. Unless otherwise noted, all citations below are to this directive.


No statutory guidance allowing observers to verify ballot marks
No statutory requirement that audit results and data be made public
No statutory requirement that audits be conducted publicly
Statutes specify that only designated observers can be present

"Each registered political party and any person interested in a ballot proposition appearing on the ballot may appoint one person . . . to act as a counting poll watcher to observe the counting of ballots." See Utah Code 20A-3-201(1)(a)(i). Those who are qualified to serve as poll watcher are permitted "to observe the audit." according to Election Directive Section 6.4.2. It is unclear if observers are allowed to verify ballot marks.

The audit law does not require the random selection process to be conducted publicly. Although the audit law does not require the audit or the random selection process to be conducted publicly, each election official conducting an audit must publish a notice of the audit in a newspaper of general circulation at least two days before the audit. See Executive Directive, Section 6.4.1.

Voting Systems Used:


Utah uses DREs with VVPAT statewide. In 2016, ten counties held all mail ballot elections. For details visit the Utah page on The Verifier.


No statutory guidance whether audit results are binding on official results

Addressing Discrepancies and Continuing the Audit:

No statutory guidance for expanding the audit

Election officials are to "ascertain the reasons for any differences between the hand-counted and the machine total report results and to record the reasons" for such discrepancies. There are no further instructions for expanding the audit. See Election Policy Directive, Section 6.5.6.

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

By implication, early-voted ballots are included in the audit.  Utah's directive requires that voting machines be audited. Election Policy Directive, Section 6.5.7 requires those conducting the audit to "If applicable, note on a log provided . . . for that purpose that an audited machine was used both in early voting and on Election Day."

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

All contests and ballot propositions are audited, with the exception of questions on judicial retention See Election Policy Directive, Sections 3.2 and

Type of Audit Units:


Utah's random selection process is designed to make sure that a total of at least 1% of voting machines used statewide are audited and that within this 1%, at least one voting machine in each Utah House of Representatives district is audited. See Election Policy Directive, Section 6.2.

Counting Method:

Hand count

Executive Directive, Section 3.1 defines an audit as "a comparison of machine counted totals of votes recorded on a voting machine with the hand counted totals of votes recorded on the corresponding permanent paper record." See also the provisions requiring "at least two election officials" (Election Policy Directive, Section 6.5) to "Hand count the votes recorded on the journal tape for each ballot proposition and partisan office" (Executive Directive, Section

Oversight and Conduct of Audit: The Office of the Lieutenant Governor oversees the audit and conducts the random selection, while local election officials conduct the audit.

Timeline for Audit: Election officials must submit serial numbers of voting machines to the Lieutenant Governor by noon on Election Day. The Lieutenant Governor must inform election officials of which machines are to be audited after the polls close on Election Day but no later that noon the next day. Each election official conducting an audit must publish a notice of the audit in a newspaper of general circulcation at least two days before the audit. The audit is to be completed before the canvassers for the respective jurisdiction meet. See Election Policy Directive, Sections 6.1, 6.3, 6.4.1 and 6.5.

Additional Resources:

Utah Lieutenant Governor Office of Elections
Utah Code - Title 20A - Election Code