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December 1, 2021

Knowing It’s Right: Limiting the Risk of Certifying Elections

Knowing It’s Right: Limiting the Risk of Certifying Elections

The American public wants to believe that when they vote it means something. The Knowing It’s Right series is designed to help teach elections officials about a new way to audit our elections and check for the accuracy every voter deserves. The Democracy Fund’s Knowing It’s Right series will help you make the case for risk-limiting audits, understand how they work, put a pilot audit into practice and design a ballot accounting program as the foundation of an audit. As with most election administration processes, implementation success lies in preparation—and Risk Limiting Audits (RLAs), which some proponents often refer to as the “cheap and easy” method to check the accuracy of the results, are no exception.

Knowing It’s Right is part of the Democracy Fund’s Election Validation Project to increase trust in elections through rigorous audits, standards and testing. This report captures where we currently stand on risk-limiting audits, provides an overview of what policymakers need to know and serves as a guide or workbook on how practitioners can prepare to implement. The materials demonstrate the rigor that a jurisdiction needs to go through in order to conduct a meaningful audit, the decisions that need to be made along the way and what to contemplate as this relatively young procedure continues to evolve.

Jennifer Morrell led the Election Validation Project and spearheaded the outreach on this guidance. Morrell’s work in Colorado was instrumental in the successful implementation of the first statewide risk-limiting audit, and this three-part report is the cumulative documentation of her work. She continues to travel around the country working on post-election audits.