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Post-election audit for the 20th Congressional District Special Election begins

Posted at 12:56 PM, Mar 22, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The 1% manual tally — or election audit — is a process conducted to help ensure that election voting tabulators are operating accurately.

  • Video shows the process for the manual 1% tally from start to finish. Elections staff goes through randomly drawing precincts and checking ballots to ensure the accuracy of tabulators.
  • As part of the process, 1% of precincts are randomly picked for review. In the case of Kern County's 20th Congressional District Special Election, the first review will be made up of three precincts. However, as more votes from the special election continue to be tabulated, the number of precincts needed to meet that one percent could increase.

It's an important part of the elections process and it starts with a random draw.

The 1% manual tally — or election audit — is a process conducted to help ensure that election voting tabulators are operating accurately.

"It does give us that confidence because we are choosing randomly that these ballots are tied to what the results on the tabulators are," said Kern County Auditor Controller and Registrar of Voters Aimee Espinoza.

As part of the process, 1% of precincts are randomly picked for review. In the case of Kern County's 20th Congressional District Special Election, the first review will be made up of three precincts. However, as more votes from the special election continue to be tabulated, the number of precincts needed to meet that one percent could increase.

"I know there are some voters who are concerned with the voting systems that counties use, so this is just that added confidence," Espinoza said.

After precincts are drawn, two members of the Elections Division will then go through every ballot and compare the results on that ballot to what was tabulated by the system. While one person tallies the votes, the other watches to verify. Another team of two mark these results and verify them.

"If the initial count occurs and we compare and there's something that's off, we pull another team in to do a recount of any race that wasn't correlating," Espinoza said.

Post-election audits are required by state law and can take as long as needed to meet that 1%. For the March 5 Primary, the audit took up to four days. The elections division said while some discrepancies were found -- each one was the result of human error on the auditors part.

The first post-election audit for the special election resulted in no discrepancies.

Espinoza said almost every time a discrepancy has been found, it's typically on the side of human error and not the tabulator processing ballots.

The election results for the special election are set to be certified by March 28.


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