Topics
Code Section
Tool bar
Virginia > Title 24.2 Elections > The Election

§ 24.2-671.1 Audits of ballot scanner machines

Overview of Statute

This section outlines the procedures for post-election ballot scanner audits.

Statute

(Effective until July 1, 2018)

A. The State Board shall be authorized to conduct a post-election audit of one or more ballot scanner machines in one or more precincts in one or more localities with respect to an election in which the margin between the top two candidates for each office on the ballot exceeds 10 percent, with the consent of the electoral board of the locality, notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary. The purposes of the audits shall be to study the accuracy of ballot scanner machines.

B. No audit shall commence until after the election has been certified and the period to initiate a recount has expired without the initiation of a recount, unless such audit is being conducted as part of a voting system certification. An audit shall have no effect on the election results.

C. All audits shall be performed in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the State Board under the supervision of the local electoral board. The procedures established by the State Board shall include its procedures for conducting hand counts of ballots. Candidates and political parties may have representatives observe the audits.

D. At the conclusion of each audit, the local electoral board shall announce publicly the results of the audit of the machines in its jurisdiction. The announcement shall include a comparison of the audited election results and the initial tally for each machine audited, and an analysis of any detected discrepancies.

2008, c. 565; 2014, cc. 540576.

§ 24.2-671.1. (Effective July 1, 2018) Audits of ballot scanner machines

A. The Department of Elections shall coordinate a post-election risk-limiting audit annually of ballot scanner machines in use in the Commonwealth. The localities selected for the audit shall be chosen at random with every locality participating in the Department’s annual audit at least once during a five-year period. The purpose of the audits shall be to study the accuracy of ballot scanner machines.

B. No audit conducted pursuant to this section shall commence until after the election has been certified and the period to initiate a recount has expired without the initiation of a recount. An audit shall have no effect on the election results.

C. All audits conducted pursuant to this section shall be performed by the local electoral boards and general registrars in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the Department. The procedures established by the Department shall include its procedures for conducting hand counts of ballots. Candidates and political parties may have representatives observe the audits.

D. The local electoral boards shall report the results of the audit of the ballot scanner machines in their jurisdiction to the Department. At the conclusion of each audit, the Department shall submit a report to the State Board. The report shall include a comparison of the audited election results and the initial tally for each machine audited and an analysis of any detected discrepancies.

2008, c. 565; 2014, cc. 540576; 2017, c. 367.

Annotation: 10/12/2016 9:44 pm

This section provides only for a series of pilot programs for post-election audits.

Annotation: 10/16/2016 10:28 am

This code section was created in 2008 as a pilot program for post-election audits of voting equipment (http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?081+ful+CHAP0565). In 2009, the legislature directed the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to do a study of these pilot programs (http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=091&typ=bil&val=sj328), resulting in a 2010 paper (http://jlarc.virginia.gov/pdfs/reports/Rpt400.pdf). Based on the success of that study the legislature made the program permanent in 2014 as part of a technical update to the codes voting equipment provisions (http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?141+ful+CHAP0540). In 2015, in response to “voting anomalies,” the Goochland County Electoral Board requested that the State Board approve a post-election audit of their voting equiptment; the first ever under the updated statute. Along with its request, Goochland submitted documents to be used to conduct the audit process (http://elections.virginia.gov/Files/Media/Agendas/2015/20151216BWP.pdf). The Board approved, and the audit was held that day. The secretary of the Goochland County Electoral Board, Robin Lind, presented a report of results to the State Board at their next meeting (http://elections.virginia.gov/Files/Media/Agendas/2016/20160108Minutes.pdf).

Annotation: 10/12/2016 10:16 pm

For a useful resource on audits under this statute in Virginia, see http://www.ceimn.org/state-audit-laws-searchable-database/states/virginia.

Definition [Department]

The state agency headed by the Commissioner of Elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [State Board]

The State Board of Elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Voting system]

The electronic voting and counting machines used at elections. This term includes direct recording electronic machines (DRE) and ballot scanner machines.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Electoral board]

A board appointed pursuant to § 24.2-106 to administer elections for a county or city. The electoral board of the county in which a town or the greater part of a town is located shall administer the town’s elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [General Registrar]

The person appointed by the electoral board of a county or city pursuant to § 24.2-110 to be responsible for all aspects of voter registration, in addition to other duties prescribed by this title. When performing duties related to the administration of elections, the general registrar is acting in his capacity as the director of elections for the locality in which he serves.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Local electoral board]

A board appointed pursuant to § 24.2-106 to administer elections for a county or city. The electoral board of the county in which a town or the greater part of a town is located shall administer the town’s elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Ballot scanner machine]

The electronic counting machine in which a voter inserts a marked ballot to be scanned and the results tabulated.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Department of Elections]

The state agency headed by the Commissioner of Elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Board]

The State Board of Elections.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [State]

A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

See § 24.2-452.

Definition [Election]

A general, primary, or special election.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Precinct]

The territory designated by the governing body of a county, city, or town to be served by one polling place.

See § 24.2-101.

Definition [Candidate]

A person who seeks or campaigns for an office of the Commonwealth or one of its governmental units in a general, primary, or special election and who is qualified to have his name placed on the ballot for the office. “Candidate” shall include a person who seeks the nomination of a political party or who, by reason of receiving the nomination of a political party for election to an office, is referred to as its nominee. For the purposes of Chapters 8 (§ 24.2-800 et seq.), 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.), and 9.5 (§ 24.2-955 et seq.), “candidate” shall include any write-in candidate. However, no write-in candidate who has received less than 15 percent of the votes cast for the office shall be eligible to initiate an election contest pursuant to Article 2 (§ 24.2-803 et seq.) of Chapter 8. For the purposes of Chapters 9.3 (§ 24.2-945 et seq.) and 9.5 (§ 24.2-955 et seq.), “candidate” shall include any person who raises or spends funds in order to seek or campaign for an office of the Commonwealth, excluding federal offices, or one of its governmental units in a party nomination process or general, primary, or special election; and such person shall be considered a candidate until a final report is filed pursuant to Article 3 (§ 24.2-947 et seq.) of Chapter 9.3.

See § 24.2-101.