OC Registrar announces ballot audit

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OC Registrar announces ballot audit

Orange County will conduct a risk-limiting audit beginning Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley announced on Sunday.

He said the ballot comparison audit is not required under California law, and is being conducted in addition to the one percent manual tally of precincts.

According to a press release, “the risk-limiting audit is a procedure that provides strong statistical evidence that the election outcome is correct, or has a high probability of correcting an outcome that wouldn’t match a full hand count of the ballots. The audit itself requires human beings to examine and verify more ballots in close contests and fewer ballots in contests with wider margins.”

“Conducting a risk-limiting audit is an excellent way to audit elections and provide an important check on the integrity of the election process.” He continued, “This is a valuable opportunity to utilize the enhanced auditing capability of Orange County’s voting system, while at the same time ensuring that the outcomes are true and correct.”

Prior to the commencement of the risk-limiting audit the Registrar of Voters will establish the random seed for use with the audit software’s random number generator.

According to the OC Registrar’s Office, the seed is a number consisting of at least 20 digits, and each digit will be selected in order by sequential rolls of a 10-sided die. The Registrar of Voters will randomly select members of the public who attend the audit process to take turns rolling the die and designate one or more staff members to take turns rolling the die in the event that no members of the public are present.

Establishing the seed in this manner results in a properly random, and verifiable, selection of individual ballots for examination and audit, and ensures the integrity and statistical validity of the risk-limiting audit, they said.

The Registrar of Voters will publish the election results to be audited, along with a cryptographic hash of their contents, prior to the seed ceremony, and will publish the seed on its website immediately after it is established.

The audit will occur Fri., Nov. 13 at 9 a.m. (random seed selected by the rolling of 10-sided die) at the Registrar of Voters, 1300 South Grand Avenue, Building C, Santa Ana, CA.
Once the random seed is established the physical pulling of the actual ballots will take place and the ballot comparison audit will begin.

The Registrar of Voters is responsible for conducting elections in the County of Orange, the fifth largest voting jurisdiction in the United States with 1.6 million registered voters. We are a County agency, which receives funding from the County’s General Fund and periodic reimbursement from the federal government, the State of California and local jurisdictions.