State Audit Laws Searchable Database

State Audit Laws - West Virginia

This information was updated in March 2017.

State Summary:

West Virginia enacted its audit statute in 2005. It provides for all items on the ballot to be audited. The audit results are binding upon official results and may lead to a full recount of the voter-verified paper audit trail. The audit provision are found in West Virginia Code, §3-4A-28 and the West Virginia State Rules 153-18.


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

The audit is conducted during the public canvass. See page 2 of the 2016 Best Practices Guide for Canvass and Recount (the Canvass Guide).

"All proceedings at the central counting center are to be under the supervision of the clerk of the county commission and are to be conducted under circumstances which allow observation from a designated area by all persons entitled to be present. The proceedings shall take place in a room of sufficient size and satisfactory arrangement to permit observation. Those persons entitled to be present include all candidates whose names appear on the ballots being counted or, if a candidate is absent, a representative of the candidate who presents a written authorization signed by the candidate for the purpose and two representatives of each political party on the ballot who are chosen by the county executive committee chairperson. A reasonable number of the general public is also freely admitted to the room. In the event all members of the general public desiring admission to the room cannot be admitted at one time, the county commission shall provide for a periodic and convenient rotation of admission to the room for observation, to the end that each member of the general public desiring admission, during the proceedings at the central counting center, is to be granted admission for reasonable periods of time for observation: Provided, That no person except those authorized for the purpose may touch any ballot or other official records and papers utilized in the election during observation."  See W. Va. Code, §3-4A-27(a).

Voting Systems Used:

Mixed paper ballot and DREs with VVPAT

West Virginia uses a mix of DREs with VVPAT, optical scanners and hand counts. For details visit the West Virginia page on The Verifier.


Audit results binding upon official results

"After the canvassing procedures have been completed for all precincts, the board shall re-total the votes cast for each candidate and for or against every issue. The board shall then declare the resulting totals and enter each total into the record of the canvass."  WV State Rule 153-18-9.1.

Addressing Discrepancies and Continuing the Audit:

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

The audit is expanded to a full manual count of all voter-verified paper ballots if the results of the audit show discrepancies that differ by more than one percent from the initial count, or that show a different outcome for an election contest.  "After the hand count of each precinct is recorded, the board shall compare the recorded tallies with the tabulated results of the same precincts. . . . if the difference between the tabulated results . . . and the hand counted results of the same ballots is more than 1% of the total votes cast, all precincts must be hand counted." See WV State Rules 153-18-8.4 and 8.5.

Audit Comprehensiveness:

Absentee ballots included in audit
Early voted ballots included in audit
No statutory guidance for ballots counted by hand on election day to be included in audit

West Virginia audits optical scan ballots as well as DRE VVPATs. See the procedures for canvassing optical scan ballots and DRE VVPATs on pages 5-13 in the 2016 Best Practices Guide for Canvass and Recount.  According to the Office of the West Virginia Secretary of State, early voted and absentee ballots are included in the audit.

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

Every contest and ballot issue on the ballot is audited. W. Va. Code, §3-4A-28(d) and WV State Rule 153-18-8.

Type of Audit Units:


Three percent of precincts using DREs with VVPATs are audited. W. Va. Code, §3-4A-28. Although WV State Rule 153-18-8 specifies that 5% of precincts using optical scan voting equipment will be audited, the more current 2016 Best Practices Guide for Canvass and Recount clarifies that only 3% of precincts using optical scan equipment are audited.

Counting Method:

Hand count

Oversight and Conduct of Audit: Both conduct and oversight of the audit is handled by the Board of Canvassers.

Timeline for Audit: The audit is conducted "during the canvass," before certification.

Additional Resources:

West Virginia Secretary of State
West Virginia Code - Chapter 3 - Elections
West Virginia Code of State Rules