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Colorado implements Risk-Limiting Audit process to verify election results

Colorado is implementing a Risk-Limiting Audit Process to verify election results in hopes of building more confidence in the outcome of its elections.

State election officials held a conference call today to discuss some of the details surrounding the initiative that will go into effect next week. The main thrust of the Risk-Limiting Audit Process is to require all jurisdictions to have a sound ballot accounting process and use a batch size of one ballot, which requires that a cast vote record (CVR) exist and be available and retrievable for each individual ballot, according to the State of Colorado Risk-Limiting Audit Final report.

A CVR is a permanent record of all votes produced by a single voter whether in electronic, paper or other form and can help detect or deter voter fraud, said Neal McBurnett, an election security consultant working with election officials in Colorado, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

The process begins by obtaining the vote results for each batch of ballots cast and then selecting the specific contests to audit.

“Once the contests have been selected, the number of ballots to select initially is calculated by using the risk limit and the margin of the contests,” “The ballots are then randomly selected and each ballot's vote marking is compared by hand to the CVR for that ballot.”

If sufficiently few errors are found, the audit ends; otherwise, additional ballots are audited, the report said.

New Mexico also uses a similar procedure and Rhode Island will soon be following suit after recently signing a law this year that will also enable the process.

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