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Election Results Verification
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R. Jerry Adams, Ph.D.
Below are descriptions of methods used to check, test, or verify election results.
1. "Logic and Accuracy Tests"
Checks the hardware. The purpose is to find errors in calibration and
counting. Very accurate in testing small batches of ballots. These tests
cannot check statewide results or detect software code that alters results
when larger numbers of ballots are tallied electronically.
2. "Audits of Precincts"
Checks a random sample of precincts. The purpose is to audit machine-counted results by hand-counting the paper ballots in the selected precincts. Very accurate in finding errors in the selected precincts. Helpful in finding the causes of errors in the selected precincts. These tests cannot check statewide results because the statistical margin of error is too large to
trigger a statewide recount. A different method of sampling is needed to test statewide results.
3. "Countywide or Statewide Verification"
Checks a random countywide or statewide sampling of actual paper ballots cast. The purpose is to verify, independently of machine tallies, the countywide or statewide election results. This is the only known method of independently verifying election results at a countywide or statewide level. If the results of the sample are outside the 1% margin of error, a full hand recount is triggered. The Countywide Verification method is best suited for counties with more than 800,000 ballots. The Statewide Verification method is suitable for all states.
Recounts are not "tests." Recounts are full hand-counts of paper ballots to determine the outcome of an election.
Statewide Verification is an essential method for verifying machine tallies of election results.
The sequence for testing should be:
-Logic and Accuracy Tests to ensure that the machines are properly
-Statewide Verification through a random sampling of actual
ballots cast to ensure that the election outcomes are correct.
-Audits of Precincts to check voting systems in a sample of precincts--if a
full recount has not already been triggered by the statewide verification.
-Copyright © 1996-2006 EDI
and Dr. R. Jerry Adams-
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