Kentucky Audit Information

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This information was updated in September 2013 using the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS).

State Summary Kentucky has two separate laws that suggest two separate and independent post-election audit processes take place. The first is Title X KRS 117.383(8), which requires a manual recount of precincts representing between 3% and 5% of the total ballots cast in each election. While the statute requires the State Board of Elections to develop rules and regulations for audits, at present, there are no rules regarding audits contained in the relevant portions of the Kentucky Administrative Regulations. See Title 31, State Board of Elections.

The second is law is Title X KRS 15.243(3), which requires the Attorney General to conduct an “independent inquiry” in at least 5% of the state's counties. We address both audits in our description below.

No statutory requirement that audits be conducted publicly
No statutory requirement that audit results and data be made public
No statutory guidance allowing observers to verify ballot marks

While KRS 15.243 requires that the random selection of counties be conducted publicly, it does not similarly require that the Attorney General's investigation itself be public.

Although there are no requirements that the audit overseen by the State Board of Elections (KRS 117.383) be conducted publicly, the audit takes place during the canvass and representatives from the new media may be present.  See KRS 117.275(9) and 117.305(1).

Voting Systems Used: 

Mixed paper ballot and DREs without VVPAT

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Please note that as many counties in Kentucky do use direct-recording electronic machines (DREs) without a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), therefore a true manual audit cannot be conducted for all precincts in Kentucky.


Audit results binding on election results

The audit is conducted "As part of the official canvass." See KRS 117.383(8). The initial canvass "shall constitute the official returns of the precinct," unless a discrepancy is discovered; if so, a recanvass is required and to the extent errors are discovered "the returns and all papers being prepared by the board shall be corrected accordingly." See KRS 117.305(1).

Addressing Discrepancies and Continuing the Audit: 

No statutory guidance for expanding the audit

Audit Comprehensiveness: 
No statutory guidance for either early, absentee or provisional ballots
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
Primary elections audited
Local election contests audited
Statewide election contests audited
Federal election contests audited

No specific contests or procedures for the random selection of contests are outlined in either of Kentucky's audit statutes.

Type of Audit Units: 


While KRS 117.383 requires that enough precincts to represent 3% to 5% of the total ballots cast in the election be audited, the audit conducted by the Attorney General according to KRS3 requires that 5% of counties (not precincts or ballots) be audited.

Counting Method: 

Hand count only


While KRS 117.383 specifies that the audit is to be manual (hand counted), many counties in Kentucky use DRE machines without a VVPAT, therefore a true manual audit cannot be conducted.

Section 15.243 provides no guidance as to how the Attorney General's investigation is to take place, and if it is to involve a manual audit.

Oversight and Conduct of Audit:

Oversight and conduct of the audit as required by KRS 117.383 is handled by the State Board of Elections.

Timeline for Audit:

The audit authorized by KRS 117.383 is to be conducted as part of the official canvass, but no other specific timing requirements are found in the statute.

The attorney general's audit authorized by 15.243 is to be commenced within 20 days after each election.