New measures to bolster security for Michigan’s 2018 midterm elections were announced this month, but experts said they don’t address all past gripes with state procedures. During this year’s May election and November general election, Michigan will hand-count ballots for all precincts selected in the post-election audit, secretary of state spokesman Fred Woodhams said. The state currently uses paper ballots that are scanned through optical voting machines. Past elections’ audits required reviewing voting machine equipment as well as procedural compliance of poll workers, he said, but did not entail recounting paper ballots. … But the reforms don’t fully reassure Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan. He noted that under Michigan procedure, post-election audits occur after the results are already certified, rendering the practice moot when it comes to disputing a race outcome.
“It severely limits the utility of an audit if you do it months after an election and creates more opportunity for pieces of paper to be lost or tampered with,” he said.
Halderman said Michigan must conduct “risk-limiting audits,” a model that scours the statistical sample of ballots based on the margin of victory. The practice — recently required by New Mexico, Colorado and Rhode Island — is endorsed by researchers.