Illinois Audit Information

This information was updated in May 2013.

 

State Summary

 

Signed into law in 2005, Illinois' audit law does not lead to a full recount, but it does provide for the entire ballot to be audited.  The audit is not binding upon the official election results.

 

There are three distinct statutes regarding audits in Illinois, each pertaining to a different voting system. Two of these, however, are nearly identical. The first is 10 ILCS 24A-15. The second is 10 ILCS 24B-15. The third is 10 ILCS 24C-15 which is also similar to the first two. Rather than cite all three statutes continuously on each point below, we have highlighted only those points where they differ from one another.

Transparency: 

No statutory requirement that audits be conducted publicly

Statutes require that audit results and data be made public

No statutory guidance allowing observers to verify ballot marks

 

All records, documentation, and results for the audit are to be made public. See ILCS 5/24C-15. Also see the definition for “Audit trail” in 10 ILCS 5/24C-2.

 

Each separate audit statute states that members of “the State Board of Elections, the State's Attorney and other appropriate law enforcement agencies, the county chairman of each established political party and qualified civic organizations,” may view the audit. However, there is no mention of their ability to verify ballot markings. Similarly, there is no mention of the general public's ability to observe the audit.

Voting Systems Used: 

Mixed paper ballot and DREs with VVPAT

 

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Binding: 

Statutes specify audit results are not binding

All of the audit laws provide that the results shall be treated in the same manner as results are treated under the petition for discovery recount law: "The results of the examination and count shall not be certified, used to amend or change the abstracts of the votes previously completed, used to deny the successful candidate for the same office his certificate of nomination or election, nor used to change the previously declared result of the vote on a question of public policy. Such count shall not be binding in an election contest brought about under the provisions of the Election Code, shall not be a prerequisite to bringing such an election contest, shall not prevent the bringing of such an election contest, nor shall it affect the results of the canvass previously proclaimed." See 10 ILCS 5/22-9.1.

Addressing Discrepancies and Continuing the Audit: 

No statutory guidance for expanding the audit    

 

For DREs, election officials are to count the VVPATs multiple times until “an errorless count” is produced, and if such a count cannot be made, a report and explanation must be provided to the appropriate canvassing board. See 10- ILCS 5/24C-15.

 

For other mechanical and electronic voting systems an errorless count must be made on a "preaudited group of ballots." See 10 ILCS 5/24A-15 and 24B-15.

 

The statutes also contain provisions that require election authorities to check the totals of the precinct returns and, if there is an obvious discrepancy regarding the total number of votes cast in any precinct, have the ballots for that precinct audited or retabulated to correct the return.  In addition, whenever a discrepancy exists during the canvass of votes between the unofficial results and the certificate of results, or whenever a discrepancy exists during the canvass of votes between the certificate of results and the set of totals which has been affixed to the certificate of results, the ballots for that precinct shall be audited or retabulated to correct the return.  See 10 ILCS 5/24A-15, 24B-15 and 24C-15.

Audit Comprehensiveness: 

Early voted ballots included in audit

No statutory guidance for ballots counted by hand on election day to be included in 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

Local election contests audited

Statewide election contests audited

Federal election contests audited

 

Illinois' statutes do not list any predetermined contests, or provide a procedure for randomly selecting contests or issues for auditing. This suggests the entire ballot is audited.

 

Additionally, the audit includes a separate test of the voting system's computer software using a set of ballots whose results are already known. This test is conducted for “each candidate and on each public question, and shall include for each office one or more ballots which have votes in excess of the number allowed by law in order to test the ability of the equipment to reject such votes.” See Sections 10 ILCS 5/24A-15 and 24B-15.

Type of Audit Units: 

Precincts/districts

 

5% of precincts in each election jurisdiction are randomly selected for auditing.

Counting Method: 

Mix of machine and hand count

 

Votes cast on DREs are to be audited “either by hand or by using an automatic tabulating device other than a Direct Recording Electronic voting device,” while votes cast on optical scan ballots are to be retabulated by machine only. See 10 ICLS 5/24C-15 and 24B-15.

 

Oversight and Conduct of Audit:

The State Board of Elections oversees the audit and conducts the random selection. The audit is then conducted by county election officials.

 

Timeline for Audit:

The random selection takes place after election day. The audit is conducted before the proclamation of election results.  See, Sections ILCS 5/24A-15, 24B-15, 24C-15.