Voting Blogs: Colorado leads the way with risk limiting audits | electionlineWeekly

With the role of the dice, Colorado recently became the first state in the nation to conduct a post-election risk-limiting audit (RLA). It’s taken a while to get this point — the legislation requiring RLAs was first approved in 2009, but Secretary of State Wayne Williams said the result was worth the wait. “We’ve been preparing for this for a number of years,” Williams said noting the need to promulgate the rules for the audit, for new voting systems and training at the state and county level. “It required a lot of work and effort from my office and the county clerks and they all came through fabulously. I was thrilled with the success. The fact that every single county passed, I think gives everyone a very high level of assurance of elections in Colorado.” Williams said it’s important to note that Colorado didn’t begin the RLA process in response to recent concerns about the accuracy of elections, but it is very timely because of concerns being raised.

The state of Maryland conducted an audit of the 2016 general electionusing auditing software from Clear Ballot. While it was a sophisticated audit, it was not an RLA.

“…[I[t’s not a risk limiting audit because the random assignment of ballots to be audited isn’t based on the number of ballots cast in a specific race and the closeness of the outcome,” Colorado Director of Elections Judd Choate explained. “In order to do an RLA, you must have the associated statistical equation, which randomly picks ballots based on the likelihood that the ballots selected can show the auditor (to a 91 percent confidence) that the outcome was correct.”

The audit began on Friday, November 17 and all counties were done the beginning of the following week. Although a statewide audit, several counties did not participate because they did not conduct elections this November and at least two did not participate because they are so small and already hand count their ballots.

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