Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, rallied with several dozen supporters outside the state Capitol on Monday to call for a “forensic audit” of Virginia’s electoral process. Since the November election former President Donald Trump and many of his supporters have continued to promote debunked or unsubstantiated claims of election fraud that election officials and courts have rejected. Democrat Joe Biden beat Trump in Virginia by 10 percentage points. “It’s so imperative that we make 100% sure that voters have 100% confidence in our election process,” Chase said at the Capitol Monday speaking in front of perhaps two dozen supporters holding homemade signs. “It’s important that we audit Virginia. It’s important we have a forensic audit, not the faux audit that the State Board of Elections did.” Chase said that when the General Assembly makes decisions Virginians need to know that “these people are elected by we the people” and that the decisions they make “are what the people want.” In March the Virginia Department of Elections said that election administrators around the state had completed an audit of ballot scanner machines used in the November elections in which Biden defeated Trump and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., beat Republican Daniel Gade.
North Carolina Officials say new voting audits offer trust and transparency in elections | Jordan Wilkie/Carolina Public Press
This fall, North Carolina will pilot a new kind of postelection audit, the gold-standard method to ensure the candidate declared the winner in a race actually received the most votes. The action is the first step in a likely yearslong process of improving the state’s postelection audit strategies. Currently, the state uses a “sample audit,” whereby election officials hand-recount two random precincts to make sure the results are right. For most elections, North Carolina’s sample audits count far more ballots than is necessary to be confident that the election results are accurate, creating a significant and unnecessary burden on election officials. For very close elections, the state’s current sample audit may recount too few ballots to be highly confident in checking the results. Risk-limiting audits were designed to right-size this problem, what N.C. State Board of Elections Chair Damon Circosta referred to as an “optimization” of the system. A risk-limiting audit randomly samples ballots from across voting methods. Election officials hand-count the sample and then use an equation to see how likely it is that the paper ballots show a different outcome than the computer-counted results. If the ballots show a potentially different outcome, a bigger sample is pulled. The process is repeated using progressively larger samples. If it looks as if the paper ballots aren’t backing the electronic outcome, an entire recount occurs.