Colorado is embarking on a first-of-its-kind, statewide election audit that seeks to validate the accuracy of the state’s ballot-counting machines amid national concern about election integrity. The so-called risk-limiting audit involves a manual recount of a sample of ballots from 56 counties that had elections this year to compare them with how they were interpreted by tabulating machines. The exercise is drawing observers from Rhode Island, as well as top federal voting-oversight officials. “It’s a huge deal in the election world,” said Lynn Bartels, spokeswoman for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, which is implementing the audit.
Colorado’s audit is the first in the U.S., and is the result of a bill passed by state lawmakers in 2009. The first audit was supposed to happen in 2014, but getting the right technology in place and training completed took until last week’s elections.
“It just took awhile to get the technology and process that we needed,” said Hilary Rudy, deputy elections director in the Secretary of State’s Office. “It’s a huge change. It’s incredibly cool from an election geek perspective.”