CEIMN State Audit Laws Searchable Database

Welcome to the Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota (CEIMN) State Audit Laws Searchable Database.  This tool describes and catalogs state audit laws. 

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Database glossary » 

The search fields, updated in 2012, are largely based on the Principles and Best Practices for Post-Election Audits document found here.  A post-election audit (also referred to as an "audit"), is defined in the "Principles" document as "hand-counting votes on paper records and comparing those counts to the corresponding vote counts originally reported, as a check on the accuracy of election results, and resolving discrepancies using accurate hand counts of the paper records as the benchmark."

Why Audit Election Results? "No voting system is perfect. Nearly all US elections today are counted using electronic voting systems. Such voting systems have produced result-changing errors through problems with hardware, software, and procedures.[1] Errors can also occur in hand counting of ballots or in the compiling of results.[2] Even serious error can go undetected if results are not audited effectively.  Well-designed and properly performed post-election audits can significantly mitigate the threat of error, and should be considered integral to any vote counting system."

If you have any questions or if you know of information that needs to be updated or revised, contact CEIMN founder and former director Mark Halvorson at mark@ceimn.org.  Be sure to also check out our recount searchable database.



[1] For example, in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, in the June 2006 primary election for County Recorder, the original optical scan count showed challenger Oscar Duran defeating the incumbent, John Sciortino. A hand count showed that Sciortino actually had won handily; the scanners had been misprogrammed. In Napa County, California, after the March 2004 primary, the 1% manual tally discovered that the optical scanners had been miscalibrated and were failing to detect the dye-based ink commonly used in gel pens. The ensuing recount recovered almost 6700 votes (but no outcomes changed).

[2] In 2006, Lawrence County, Missouri conducted a post-election audit that changed the outcomes of two elections, and prevented the certification of the wrong results. According to Gary Emerson, Lawrence County Clerk, the voting equipment tabulated the election results correctly; however, when these results were transferred to the election reporting system, a programming error caused the titles of a judge race and a sales tax question to be switched. It was initially reported that the judge did not get retained and the sales tax passed. After the manual count of a precinct that was randomly selected for a post-election audit, it was discovered that the reports from the reporting system did not match the results tapes from the precinct voting equipment. The audited results confirmed that the actual outcome was that the judge was retained and the sales tax failed.

The Lawrence County incident was also reported in Voters First: An Examination of the 2006 Midterm Election in Missouri Report from the Office of Secretary of State to the People of Missouri, page 9 (See: https://archive.org/details/2006VotersFirstMORpt), and it was reported in "Voting glitches pop up in area,"  Springfield News-Leader, Nov. 9, 2006, p. 5a.