The General Assembly has approved a bill to establish post-election audits to ensure that equipment and procedures used to count votes are working properly. “This will go a long way toward ensuring public confidence in election results,” said Sen. James C. Sheehan, D-North Kingstown, who introduced the legislation at the urging of Common Cause. “Without the constant scrutiny and examination of election procedures, the democratic system could be called into doubt.” The bill was sponsored in the House by Rep. Edith H. Ajello, D-Providence. The audit would be a partial recount to verify the accuracy of the voting system.
The state Board of Elections would be authorized to audit ballots within seven days after an election in an effort to deter fraud, uncover programming errors and equipment malfunctions, and to determine whether a full recount is needed.
Ajello, commenting on the hacking of voting systems, and “allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election,” said the system would compare election results produced by machines to statistically significant numbers of hand-counted paper ballots.
If the bill is signed by the governor, Rhode Island would join 29 other states that already require post-election audits.