Secretary of State Proposes Rules for Election Audit Transparency

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Friday he is asking the State Elections Board to pass a rule setting forth procedures to publicize the time and location of post-election audits.

He also noted that the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency announced this week it is investing in the auditing tool that Georgia used to audit the Nov. 5 Cartersville municipal election. Georgia made history by being the first state in the Southeast to pilot a risk-limiting audit of an election.

“Audits are an important part of the new, secure paper-ballot voting system because they give the public confidence in how the election was conducted and the integrity of the results,” Raffensperger said. “Just like the public is notified of the time and location of pre-election logic and accuracy testing of voting equipment, audits after elections should be similarly public.”

Post-election audits of Georgia elections are a security feature of the new voting system that relies on paper ballots and is currently rolled out. The transition was authorized by the General Assembly through House Bill 316 which also required post-elections to be completed in public view.

Risk-limiting audits use statistical sampling to confirm election results. This method helps identify potential hacks, malfunctions, or other interference in the voting process. Election administration and security experts agree that risk-limiting audits are the “gold standard” of post-election audits in an era when election security is paramount.

These audits will provide an added layer of election protection to increase voter confidence that the reported winner is the actual winner.

To prepare for statewide post-election audits in 2020, the Secretary of State’s Office is partnering with VotingWorks, and the Center for Election Innovation and Research, national non-partisan organizations that have experience with election audits in multiple states. Arlo, the auditing tool used in Georgia’s risk-limiting audit, was recognized Thursday by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).