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Colorado completes November 7 election audit

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Joe Mueller

(The Center Square) – Colorado has completed its statutory-required audit of the November election, Secretary of State Jena Griswold's office said Wednesday.

The "bipartisan risk-limiting audit" was enacted into law in 2009 and first executed after the 2017 coordinated election. This election’s audit began November 9.

“This audit is one of many tools my office uses to ensure Colorado’s elections are safe, secure and accurate,” Griswold said in a statement.

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The audit checks to ensure ballots were counted according to the intent of the voters who cast them. The process provides a statistical level of certainty an election outcome is correct.

“Good post-election audits check the machine results by inspecting some of the paper ballots manually,” according to an overview of the process on the secretary of state’s website. “Well designed and executed audits can catch and correct errors that change the outcome—that made someone other than the true winner appear to win.”

The bipartisan process began two days after the election with the selection of a race in each county to be audited. In addition to county-level races, Proposition HH, a statewide initiative addressing property taxes, also was audited.

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“Risk-limiting audits demand that close races get more scrutiny,” the overview states. “If the margin of victory is very close, even one faulty scanner could alter the outcome of the election and so a risk-limiting audit requires examining a larger sample of ballots. If the margin of victory is wide, fewer ballots need to be reviewed to ensure with high confidence that the outcome is correct—assuming that the audit does not uncover problems.”

Risk-limiting audits are considered by election experts to be the highest standard of post-election audits, according to Griswold’s media release announcing the completion of the process.