State Audit Laws Searchable Database

State Audit Laws - Virginia

This information was reviewed in October 2017.

State Summary:

Virginia's audit law, signed in 2014 and amended in 2017, is not binding on the official results. Under the amended language, the State Board is "shall coordinate a post-election risk-limiting
audit annually of ballot scanner machines in use in the Commonwealth". Virginia's audit provisions, with the 2017 amended language are found at Va. Code Ann. §24.2, "Elections," Chapter 6, 671.1.

Transparency:

Statutes specify that only designated observers can be present
Statutes require that audit results and data be made public

Virginia's audit provisions state that "[c]andidates and political parties may have representatives observe the audits" but make no mention of observation by the general public.Va. Code Ann. §24.2 - 671.1(C) and (D).

Voting Systems Used:

Mixed paper ballot and DREs with and without VVPAT

Beginning with the November 2017 election, all localities in Virginia will use paper ballot voting systems with integrated ballot marking devices for voters with disabilities. For details visit the Virginia page on The Verifier.

Binding:

Statutes specify results are not binding

Virginia's audit provisions state specifically that "[a]n audit shall have no effect on the election results". See Va. Code Ann. §24.2, "Elections," Chapter 6, 671.1 (B).

Addressing Discrepancies and Continuing the Audit:

No statutory guidance for expanding the audit

Virginia's audit law requires the electoral boards and the Election department to submit a report to the State Board of Elections, which "shall include a comparison of the audited election results and the initial tally for each machine audited, and an analysis of any detected discrepancies". However, there is no mention of actions to be taken should discrepancies be identified. See Va. Code Ann. §24.2, "Elections," Chapter 6, 671.1 (D).

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

While Virginia's audit law does specify a "risk-limiting audit" it does not specify the number of localities to be audited. "The localities selected for the audit shall be chosen at random with every locality participating in the Department’s annual audit at least once during a five-year period." See Va. Code Ann. §24.2, "Elections," Chapter 6, 671.1 (A).

Additional Targeted Samples:

No statutory guidance for additional targeted samples

Virginia's audit aw makes no mention of circumstances in which the audit would be expanded.

Contests and Issues Audited:

Predetermined election contests or ballot issues are audited

Virginia's audit law, as amended in 2017, does not specify which contests are to be audited.

Type of Audit Units:

Machines

Virginia's audit law, as amended in 2017, states that that the annual audit shall "of ballot scanner machines in use in the Commonwealth". Localities performing audits are chosen randomly as described above in"Audit Comprehensiveness". See Va. Code Ann. §24.2, "Elections," Chapter 6, 671.1 (A).

Counting Method:

Hand count

"The procedures established by the Department shall include its procedures for conducting hand counts of ballots." See Va. Code Ann. §24.2, "Elections," Chapter 6, 671.1 (A).

Oversight and Conduct of Audit: The State Board is directed to coordinate the audit. The audits "shall be performed by the local electoral boards and general registrars in accordance with the procedures prescribed by Department." See Va. Code Ann. §24.2, "Elections," Chapter 6, 671.1 (A) and (C).

Timeline for Audit: "No audit conducted pursuant to this election shall commence until after the election has been certified and the period to initiate a recount has expired without the initiation of a recount. An audit shall have no effect on the election results." See Va. Code Ann. §24.2, "Elections," Chapter 6, 671.1 (B).

Additional Resources:


Virginia Department of Elections
Virginia Code - Title 24.2 - Elections



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