Standards > Tabulation audits

Tabulation audits

Handling ballots with high integrity is at the core of election officials’ work because ballots express the will of voters. From ballot creation to audits of processes and results, election officials ensure the accuracy and security of ballots. The approach to achieving standards will vary between states based on what is permissible, but all election officials prioritize handling ballots with high integrity. This is one of four standards that define excellence in ballots and audits. This draft standard will be updated based on feedback from the election community.


Your election office conducts tabulation audits on your voting equipment prior to certification to ensure the results are accurate. To achieve this standard:

  • Your audits have clearly defined objectives, processes, and timelines.
  • Your audit process includes training to equip those conducting audits with a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities.
  • Your audit samples are randomly drawn from across all precincts and voting methods.
  • Your audits maintain independence between the initial ballot processing and the audit process.
  • Your audits are conducted in a team to increase confidence in audit results.
  • You use learnings from audits to make corrections and improve your processes and training.
  • You educate voters on the audit process and audit results to promote transparency.

Why this standard matters

It is important that we are explicit about the underlying why for each standard. While not attached to measurements, the intended impact of an election department achieving this standard is that:

  • Election departments will identify opportunities to improve election processes and training.
  • Election departments will have evidence to support the integrity of their election results.  
  • Voters will have confidence that their votes were counted and reported correctly, which increases trust, accuracy, and integrity in elections.

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