How Can We Be Sure the Outcome of an Election is Correct with High Certainty?
Perform a Risk-Limiting Audit!
What is a Risk-Limiting Audit? A risk-limiting audit (RLA) is a procedure for manually checking a sample of ballots or voter-verifiable paper records from an electronic voting device that will have a large, pre- specified chance of correcting an erroneous election outcome
Why Risk-Limiting Audits?
· Risk-limiting audits are practical and inexpensive compared to other election costs.
· Risk-limiting audits can confirm correct outcomes very efficiently.
· Risk-limiting audits accommodate a wide variety of voting systems.
· Risk-limiting audits can greatly reduce the need for recounts and election contest litigation.
· Risk-limiting audits can yield extensive information about voting system accuracy.
Does My State Already Use Risk-Limiting Audits in Elections? Colorado and Rhode Island are currently the only two states with mandatory risk-limiting audit laws. The Ohio SOS post-election audit directive recommends risk-limiting audits.
How Can I Be an Advocate for Risk-Limiting Audits? Contact your state legislators, secretary of state, and local elections officials and educate them about risk-limiting audits. Contact local organizations that advocate for voting and election integrity and ask for their support. If you live in Washington State, learn more here.
Common Risk-Limiting Audit Questions
- How many ballots get counted in a RLA? The number of ballots in the initial sample depends on various things, including the margin of victory in the contest: the narrower the margin, the larger the initial sample.
- How many contests can a RLA audit? Risk-limiting audits can be conducted for any number of contests in a single election, often using a single sample for greater efficiency.
- What if the election outcome is incorrect? If the reported outcome is incorrect, then the audit usually will lead to a full hand count that reveals the correct outcome.
- When does a RLA stop? By design, once the audit finds strong evidence that the reported outcome was correct, it can stop.
- Will RLA’s delay election results? Risk- limiting audits can begin very soon after the election – in some cases even before all the votes have been counted. The audit results should be available before an election result is certified.
- Can you show me an example of RLA language in state law? Check out Colorado’s here. And Rhode Island's here.
- Is there software to perform RLA’s? Yes. Colorado is currently working with Free and Fair to provide open source RLA software.
Download risk-limiting audit facts.