Indiana to double post-election audits in general elections

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Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan on Friday announced the state will double its number of post-election audits following each general election.

Following the 2020 general election, Indiana conducted five post-election audits, in Cass, LaPorte, Madison, Marion and Vigo counties. At the conclusion of the 2022 General Election, the state will perform audits in 10 still-to-be-determined counties, she said. The state also will conduct four post-election audits after each primary election.

Post-election audits are done by manually checking a randomized sample of paper-voted ballots. In an audit, ballots are not tallied by scanners, and every sampled ballot is hand-counted to determine if the initial machine readings are confirmed and accurate.

The state partners with the Voting System Technical Oversight Program, or VSTOP, at Ball State University to conduct post-election audits. The VSTOP team also advises the Indiana Secretary of State and the Indiana Election Commission on the certification of voting machines and electronic poll books in Indiana.

The Secretary of State’s office said in a news release that post-election audits are valuable because they can detect problems with election outcomes with a “high degree of statistical confidence.”

“As the state’s chief elections officer, one of the most important responsibilities I have is to verify that all Hoosier votes are accurately counted and that proper election procedures are followed,” Sullivan said in a written statement. “Doubling the number of audits the state conducts is another vital step to providing transparency to voters and increasing confidence in our state’s electoral process.”

The Indiana Democratic Party was critical of Sullivan’s announcements of the increased audits, saying in a statement to IBJ that Sullivan is walking back her previous statements last year affirming Indiana’s elections were safe and secure in order to give herself a better chance for her re-election bid.

“The Secretary of State’s sudden about face today is not only an election year stunt, but it now creates more questions for Hoosiers ahead of a pivotal election. This sad attempt to save her election chances to appeal to an extreme base again shows an Indiana GOP without a plan for the state’s future — just shallow partisan maneuvers,” said Drew Anderson, spokesperson for the Indiana Democratic Party.

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