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Best Practices: Comprehensive Audits

Table of Contents

All jurisdictions and all ballot types, including absentee, mail-in and accepted provisional ballots, should be subject to the selection process.

a. Ballots from different jurisdictions and ballot types can be divided into distinct groups that are audited in separate phases. In each phase, the random selection of units to audit must not commence until preliminary results for each audit unit in that group have been reported to the public.

b. All types of ballots, even those used by few voters, should be subject to the selection process.[16] These might include overseas or military ballots, faxed ballots, telephone ballots, ballots transmitted over the Internet, ballots cast through accessible interfaces “voter- verified paper audit trail” ballot images, and ballots cast using any other future technology.[17]

[16] When auditing less common ballot types or very small precincts, care must be taken to preserve voter anonymity and the secrecy of the individual voter’s ballot. Also, it may be possible to confirm the election outcome without sampling some types of ballots, if these types do not contain enough ballots to alter the outcome (see footnote 12). However, for fairness and to provide valuable information about the quality of the election process, all ballot types should be routinely audited.

[17] In all cases, voter-verified paper ballots or records must be available for the audit. Auditability — the ability to conduct reliable and efficient audits — should be a crucial criterion when selecting voting technologies.