1-7-515. Risk-limiting audits – rules – legislative declaration – definitions
Overview of Statute
Beginning with the 2017 coordinated election, each county must begin using risk-limiting audits following each primary, general, coordinated, and congressional vacancy elections, as well as any other elections determined by the secretary of state. The secretary of state may, however, exempt certain counties who provide written notice indicating an inability to conduct a risk-limiting audit prior to the 2017 coordinated election. The secretary of state will promulgate rules for implementing this procedure, following consultation with statistical experts, equipment vendors, and county clerk and recorders.
The General Assembly intends for risk-limiting audits to provide greater assurance of effective election administration and public confidence in the election process. These audits will also afford resources in proportion to the closeness of a race.
 “Risk-limiting audit” means an audit protocol that makes use of statistical methods and is designed to limit to acceptable levels the risk of certifying a preliminary election outcome that constitutes an incorrect outcome.
 Article 4 of title 24, C.R.S. (“State Administrative Procedure Act”) provides rule-making procedure.
(1) (a) The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that the auditing of election results is necessary to ensure effective election administration and public confidence in the election process. Further, risk-limiting audits provide a more effective manner of conducting audits than traditional audit methods in that risk-limiting audit methods typically require only limited resources for election races with wide margins of victory while investing greater resources in close races.
(b) By enacting this section, the general assembly intends that the state move toward an audit process that is developed with the assistance of statistical experts and that relies upon risk-limiting audits making use of best practices for conducting such audits.
(2) (a) Commencing with the 2017 coordinated election and following each primary, general, coordinated, or congressional vacancy election held thereafter, each county shall make use of a risk-limiting audit in accordance with the requirements of this section. Races to be audited shall be selected in accordance with procedures established by the secretary of state, and all contested races are eligible for such selection.
(b) Upon written application from a county, the secretary of state may waive the requirements of paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) upon a sufficient showing by the county that the technology in use by the county will not enable the county to satisfy such requirements in preparation for the 2017 coordinated election.
(4) The secretary of state shall promulgate rules in accordance with article 4 of title 24, C.R.S., as may be necessary to implement and administer the requirements of this section. In connection with the promulgation of the rules, the secretary shall consult recognized statistical experts, equipment vendors, and county clerk and recorders, and shall consider best practices for conducting risk-limiting audits.
(5) As used in this section:
(a) “Incorrect outcome” means an outcome that is inconsistent with the election outcome that would be obtained by conducting a full recount.
(b) “Risk-limiting audit” means an audit protocol that makes use of statistical methods and is designed to limit to acceptable levels the risk of certifying a preliminary election outcome that constitutes an incorrect outcome.
Source: L. 2009: Entire section added, (HB 09-1335), ch. 260, p. 1195, § 12, effective May 15.L. 2013: (2) amended and (3) repealed, (HB 13-1303), ch. 185, p. 723, § 77, effective May 10.
1. Definition for 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. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.
2. Definition for Election
Any election under the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” or the “Colorado Municipal Election Code of 1965”, article 10 of title 31, C.R.S. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.
3. Definition for Secretary
The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.