Pennsylvania Audit Information

Audit Laws Database Moved

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 June 2015 using the Title 25 of the Unofficial Purdon's Pennsylvania Statues (25 P.S.) current through Act 2015-4.

State Summary Signed into law in 1980, Pennsylvania's audit law provides for all items on the ballot to be audited, but the audit results are not binding on official results and cannot lead to a full recount.  There is no statutory guidance on whether the audit results are binding on official results and no guidance on whether the audit could lead to a full recount.

All statutes cited below can be found in Title 25, “Elections and Electoral Districts,” Chapter 14, “Election Code,” which can be accessed here: http://government.westlaw.com/linkedslice/default.asp?SP=pac-1000

Transparency: 
No statutory requirement that the audit be conducted publicly
Statutes specify that only designated observers can be present
No statutory requirement that audit results and data be made public
Statutes specify that observers can verify marks on the ballots

The audit is conducted “as part of the computation and canvass of returns.” See 25 P.S. 3031.17.  The canvass of the returns is only open to those authorized to be present which includes the candidates and their appointed watchers and attorneys.  Watchers are "permitted to keep or check their own computation of the votes cast."  See 25 P.S. 2650 and 3153(a).

While the outcome of the canvass is made public, there are no provisions specifically stating that the audit results from during the canvass must also be made public.

Voting Systems Used: 

Mixed paper ballot and DREs without VVPAT

Direct recording electronic (DRE) voting systems without voter verified paper trails are used in 47 counties.  The remaining 20 counties use paper ballots with optical scan tabulators or some combination of DREs wtih optical scan tabulators.

For more details visit Verified Voting.

Binding: 

No statutory guidance binding audit results on election results

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

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

No specific contests or a procedure for randomly selecting contests for auditing is outlined in Pennsylvania's statute, meaning that, presumably, the entire ballot is audited.

Type of Audit Units: 

Individual ballots

The county board is to select a random sample of at least 2% of the votes cast, or 2,000 votes, whichever is less. See Section 3031.17.

Counting Method: 

Mix of machine and hand count

Audits are to be conducted "using manual, mechanical or electronic devices of a type of different thatn thoses used for the specific election."  No other requirements for the counting method are speified.  See Section 3031.17.

Additional  counting instructions are provided of the Directive Concerning the Use, Implementation and Operation of Electronic Voting Systems by the County Board (6/09/2011) issued by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.  Page 4 states:  For those counties using optical scan electronic voting systems, the county board of elections shall conduct the statistical recount manually.  For those counties using direct recording electronic (DRE) voting systems, the county board of elections shall conduct the statistical recount manually using the ballot images contained in the system, rather than the “totals tapes.”

Oversight and Conduct of Audit:

The county board of elections is responsible for oversight of the audit, as well as conduct of both the audit and the random selection.See Section 3031.17.

Timeline for Audit:

The audit is completed as part of the canvass of the returns.