Georgia participates in statewide risk-limiting ballot auditing after the midterms

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Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 5:42 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Behind the scenes, election season is not quite finished just yet despite the midterms elections being over.

The office of Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, says that the purpose of this audit is to make sure past races have been accurate and to gain voter trust.

Election officials began auditing randomly selected batches of ballots on Thursday. This is something all of Georgia’s 159 counties are participating in on Thursday and Friday.

Blake Evans is the elections director in the secretary of state’s office.

“The purpose of this is to verify the outcome of the secretary of state’s contest to make sure that the correct winner was declared from the machine count,” Evans said. “So, we have confidence that the audit will, in fact, confirm the outcome of the contest. But for full transparency and to confirm everything, we’re conducting this audit. And counties are doing it today and tomorrow.”

The selected ballots are manually tallied. Those results are then compared to the voting machine results to ensure accuracy. Races chosen for the audit are based on things such as public interest and other criteria.

“Secretary of state’s contest was chosen in part because it is a wide margin. And with counties in the state also preparing for a statewide run-off in just a little under three weeks from now, they have a lot of other duties that they have to accomplish as well,” Evans said. “By choosing the secretary of state’s contest, we’re able to audit the machines, confirm the outcome of the contest, confirm that the machines counted properly while also not overburdening the counties.”

Most importantly, Evans says things like this help to keep voters engaged.

“One of the benefits of the audit is that it can gain voter trust,” Evans said. “Because it is a public display of us manually checking the readable text on the ballot and confirming that the result that was produced by the machine was accurate. This is a completely transparent process. It’s open to the public. Every county has to post on their website.”

Elections will continue in December, where Georgians will see the face-off between Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican candidate Herschel Walker.