Utah Audit Information

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This information was updated in June 2014 using a version of the Utah Code (UC) that included changes made in the 2014 general legislative session.

State Summary

Adopted in October of 2006, Utah's current audit law allows for all items on the ballot to be audited, but the audit is not binding on the official election results and cannot lead to a full recount. Note: The main provision governing audits in Utah is a directive issued by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. The directive is available for download at:  http://utahcountvotes.org/ltgov/ElectionXPolicy.pdf  Unless otherwise noted, all citations below are to this directive.

Transparency: 

No statutory requirement that audits must be conducted publicly

Statutes specify that only designated observers may be present

No statutory requirement that audit results and data be made public

No statutory guidance allowing observers to verify ballot marks


“Each registered political party and any person interested in a ballot proposition appearing on the ballot may appoint one person . . . to act as a counting poll watcher to observe the counting of ballots." See UC 20A-3-201(1)(a)(i).  Such persons are permitted "to observe the audit." See Section 6.4.2.  It is unclear if observers are allowed to verify ballot marks.

The audit law does not require the random selection process to be conducted publicly.

Although the audit law does not require the audit or the random selection process to be conducted publicly, each election official conducting an audit must publish a notice of the audit in a newspaper of general circulation at least two days before the audit. See Section 6.4.1.

Voting Systems Used: 

DREs with VVPAT


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   

 

Election officials are to “ascertain the reasons for any differences between the hand-counted and the machine total report results and to record the reasons” for such discrepancies. There are no further instructions for expanding the audit. See Section 6.5.6.

Audit Comprehensiveness: 

By implication, early-voted ballots are included in the audit.  Utah's directive requires that voting machines be audited. Section 6.5.7 requires those conducting the audit to "If applicable, note on a log provided . . . for that purpose that an audited machine was used both in early voting and on Election Day."

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

 

All contests and ballot propositions are audited, with the exception of questions on judicial retention See Sections 3.2 and 6.5.3.5.

Type of Audit Units: 

Precincts/districts

Machines

 

Utah's random selection process is designed to make sure that a total of at least 1% of voting machines used statewide are audited and that within this 1%, at least one voting machine in each Utah House of Representatives district is audited. See Section 6.2.

Counting Method: 

Hand count only

 

See Section 3.1 defines an audit as “a comparison of machine counted totals of votes recorded on a voting machine with the hand counted totals of votes recorded on the corresponding permanent paper record.” See also the provisions requiring "at least two election officials" (Sec. 6.5) to "Hand count the votes recorded on the journal tape for each ballot proposition and partisan office" (Sec. 6.5.3.5).

Oversight and Conduct of Audit:

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor oversees the audit and conducts the random selection, while local election officials conduct the audit.

 

Timeline for Audit:

Election officials must submit serial numbers of voting machines to the Lieutenant Governor by noon on Election Day. The Lieutenant Governor must inform election officials of which machines are to be audited after the polls close on Election Day but no later that noon the next day. Each election official conducting an audit must publish a notice of the audit in a newspaper of general cirulcation at least two days before the audit. The audit is to be completed before the canvassers for the respective jurisdiction meet. See Sections 6.1, 6.3, 6.4.1 and 6.5.