Ohio Audit Information

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Verified Voting, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with a commitment to verifiable elections, will be hosting and maintaining the state audit laws database. Please go to the new State Audit Laws database at Verified Voting to view the most up-to-date database.

This information was updated in May 2014.

State Summary Procedures for audits in Ohio are currently established through a directive from the Secretary of State's office, rather than through statute.  See Directive 2012-56 on Post-Election Audits. Audits in Ohio are binding upon official election results (although the audit is conducted after ceritification.)

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


While the audit results must be filed with the Secretary of State's office, there is no mention made of requirements for this data to be made publicly available.

Statutes specify that audits must be conducted publicly

No statutory requirement that audit results and data be made public

Statutes specify that observers can verify marks on the ballots


Ohio's directive on audits specifies that “Citizens may be present for the conducting of the post-election audit and must be given sufficient access to verify and observe the random selection of the precincts for the audit and the manual counts of the ballots.” See page 2, “Open to Public/Public Observers.”


While the audit results must be filed with the Secretary of State's office, there is no mention made of requirements for this data to be made publicly available.

Voting Systems Used: 

Mixed paper ballot and DREs with VVPAT


For more details, visit Verified Voting.


Audit results binding upon official results


Even though the audit is conducted after certification, if an audit confirms results that differ from the initial results, the official certified results are to be amended to reflect the results of the audit. See section E, Directive 2012-56.

Addressing Discrepancies and Continuing the Audit: 

Statues specifiy criteria to expand the audit (up to a full recount)


“A county is required to escalate an audit if its accuracy rate is less than 99.5% in a contest with a certified margin that is at least 1%...or less than 99.8% in a contest with a certified margin that is smaller than 1%.  Escalation entails drawing a second random sample of at least 5% of votes cast, selected from units that were not audited in the original sample….  If, after the second round of auditing, the accuracy rate from the two samples is below 99.5%, the county shall investigate the cause of the discrepancy and report its findings to the Secretary of State’s Office…. In such cases, the Secretary of State’s Office may require a 100% hand-count.”  See Directive 2012-56, Section D(6). 

Note; Section D of Directive 2012-56 offers a choice of audit methods and states that is "requires the use of either a simple, percentage-based post-election audit or a 'risk limiting audit'.'"  Although there is a choice offered, the directive recommends a risk-liminting audit.

Audit Comprehensiveness: 

Early voted ballots included in audit

Absentee ballots included in audit

Provisional ballots included in audit

Ballots counted by hand on election day included in audit


Section 4. a. states: "When determining the public count, the board must include all relevant categories of
ballots, including regular ballots (VVPAT and/or optical scan paper ballots), counted provisional ballots (whether cast in person before, or on, Election Day), and counted absentee ballots of all types for the precinct or polling place."

Additional Targeted Samples: 

Election officials may choose additional targeted samples


“A board of elections may choose to audit a universe greater than 5%. For contests where the margin is above the statutory threshold for an automatic recount but is close, selecting a greater percentage of ballots to be audited is advisable.”  See Directive 2012-56, Section (C)(4)(d).

Contests and Issues Audited: 

Predetermined election contests or ballot issues are audited

Randomly selected election contests or ballot issues are audited

Statewide election contests audited

Local election contests audited


 Section (C)(1) of the Directive states, ""After Election Day, the Secretary of State will randomly select at least one other statewide contest to be included in the post-election audit in addition to the "top of the ticket" contest (e.g., President). Further, in addition to any contest selected by the Secretary of State, the board of elections must randomly select at least one other contest (candidate contest or question/issue contest), preferably from the universe of all countywide contests, unless circumstances (i.e., no, or only one, countywide contest) necessitate the selection of some other contest."

Type of Audit Units: 





Directive 2012-56, Section (C)(2) states: “At the time the Board meets to certify the official results of the election (or within ten days of certification, if the Board has already met to certify the official results, the Board should determine whether it will conduct its post-election audit by precinct, by polling place, or by individual voting machine1 (herein collectively referred to as 'units to be audited'); the date and location that the selection of units to be audited will take place; and the date and place that the audit will commence. It is preferable to audit the smallest unit available to the Board.”

 “On the date the Board selects the units to be audited, the Board must randomly select a sufficient number of units to be audited until the number of votes cast (machine public count) on all selected units to be audited equals at least 5% of the total number of votes cast for the county (countywide voter turnout).” Directive 2012-56, Section (C)(3).

Counting Method: 

Hand count only


The hand count requirement for audits is found in Directive 2012-56, Section (D)(4).

Oversight and Conduct of Audit:

The random selection and audit are both conducted by local election boards.


Discrepancies and results are to be reported to the Secretary of State, who is also responsible for developing regulations and procedures for audits.


Timeline for Audit:

Audits may begin no sooner than six days after the official certification of election results, and must be completed between the seventh day after the county's declaration of the official certification and 28th day after the Secretay of State declares the official certification in a statewide election.