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AB-2125 Election results: risk-limiting audits.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 06/27/2018 09:00 PM
AB2125:v94#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  June 27, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  June 14, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 29, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 21, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 15, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2125


Introduced by Assembly Member Quirk

February 08, 2018


An act to add Article 5.5 (commencing with Section 15365) to Chapter 4 of Division 15 of of, and to repeal Section 15560 of, the Elections Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2125, as amended, Quirk. Election results: risk-limiting audits.
Existing law requires an elections official, during the official canvass of an election in which a voting system is used, to conduct a public manual tally of the ballots cast in 1% of the precincts chosen at random by the elections official, as specified. Existing law also authorizes the Secretary of State to establish a postcanvass risk-limiting audit pilot program.
This bill would require risk-limiting audits in lieu of the 1% manual tally for certain counties beginning with the March 8, 2022, statewide primary election, and would authorize the use of risk-limiting audits in lieu of the 1% manual tally beginning with the March 3, 2020 2020, statewide primary election. The bill would require the Secretary of State to adopt regulations to implement and administer risk-limiting audits. By imposing new requirements on local elections officials, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would also repeal the postcanvass risk-limiting audit pilot program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.

This bill would repeal these provisions on January 1, 2021.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YESNO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Transparent, publicly observable auditing of election results is necessary to ensure effective election administration and justifiable public confidence in elections.
(b) Risk-limiting audits provide efficient and cost-effective scientific verification of election results.
(c) By definition, a risk-limiting audit strictly limits the probability that an incorrect electoral outcome will pass the audit without being corrected.

SEC. 2.

 Article 5.5 (commencing with Section 15365) is added to Chapter 4 of Division 15 of the Elections Code, to read:
Article  5.5. Risk-Limiting Audits

15365.
 The purpose of this article is to provide elections officials with a method to conduct a comprehensive verification of election outcomes through the post-election audit process. This article shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2021, and as of that date is repealed.

15366.
 As used in this article, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Ballot-level comparison audit” means a type of risk-limiting audit that involves both of the following steps:
(1) The elections official uses an independent system to verify that the cast vote records created by the voting system or ballots created independent from the tally or ballot marking system yield the same election results as those reported by the voting system.
(2) The elections official compares some or all of those cast vote records to a hand-to-eye, human interpretation of voter markings from the corresponding ballot marked by the voter or the voter verified paper audit trail, as defined by Section 19271.
(b) “Ballot polling audit” means a type of risk-limiting audit in which elections officials examine voter markings on randomly selected ballots seeking strong evidence that the reported tabulation outcome is correct.
(c) “Cast vote record” means an auditable document or electronic record that purports to reflect the selections a voter made on a ballot. It lists the contests on the ballot and the voter’s selections in each of those contests.
(d) “Risk-limiting audit” means a post-election process that involves hand-to-eye, human inspection of ballots in such a manner that if a full manual tally of all the ballots cast in the contest would show different outcomes than the results reported by the voting system, there is at most a five percent chance that the post-election process will not lead to such a full manual tally. If this post-election process does lead to a full manual tally, the winner or winners according to that full manual tally replace the winner or winners as reported by the voting system if they differ.
(e) “Ballot” means original, voter-verifiable paper ballots, including voter-marked paper ballots whether marked manually or via a ballot marking device or system, and where direct recording electronic (DRE) voting systems are used, the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT). It does not mean electronic versions of ballots, digital images of ballots, or paper printouts of ballot images or digital cast vote records.

15367.
 (a) (1) Commencing with the statewide primary election held on March 3, 2020, the elections official conducting an election may conduct a risk-limiting audit in place of the one percent manual tally required by Section 15360 during the official canvass of any election in accordance with the requirements of this article.

(2)Commencing with the statewide primary election held on March 8, 2022, and each election thereafter, any elections official using a voting system that was purchased or partially purchased using state or federal funds on or after January 1, 2019, shall conduct a risk-limiting audit in place of the one percent manual tally.

(3) A risk-limiting audit under this section shall include all contests and measures on the ballot within the county conducting the audit. Commencement

(2) Participating counties shall conduct a risk-limiting audit on each contest fully contained within the county’s borders, and partial risk-limiting audits for each contest for which votes are also cast outside the county’s borders. Commencement of the audit and selection of ballots for the audit shall not occur before the reporting of the results to which the contests are being audited. The Secretary of State shall define in regulations the vote totals to be used in the comparison audit and options for demonstrating that the audit is statistically representative of all ballots cast in the election. how all ballots, including provisional ballots and vote by mail ballots whose status has not yet been resolved, shall be taken into account in the audit to ensure that if a full manual tally of the votes on all validly cast ballots would show an electoral outcome that differs from the reported outcome, there is at most a five percent chance that the audit will not require such a tally.

(4)

(3) An elections official is in compliance with this section if the elections official conducts a ballot-level comparison audit, or ballot polling audit, with a five percent risk limit or a risk-limiting audit with a five percent risk limit using another method for conducting risk-limiting audits as approved by the Secretary of State.
(b) (1) The Secretary of State, in consultation with recognized statistical experts, election verification and integrity stakeholders, voting system manufacturers, and local elections officials, shall adopt regulations to implement and administer this article.
(2) The regulations shall do all of the following:
(A) Require elections officials to establish appropriate audit boards and procedures to conduct the risk-limiting audits.
(B) Establish criteria for public education on risk-limiting audits.
(C) Establish procedures to ensure the security of the ballots, the selection of ballots to be inspected during each audit, and the rules governing cast vote records and other data involved in risk-limiting audits.
(D) Establish the calculations and other methods to be used in the audit to determine whether or when the audit of any contest is required to include the examination of more ballots, and to establish calculations and methods to be used in such an escalation, and to determine whether and when the audit of each contest is complete.
(E) Establish procedures and requirements for testing and disclosing the algorithms and source code of any software used by the Secretary of State for the selection of ballots to be included when elections officials conduct risk-limiting audits under this article.
(F) Establish requirements for the content of the risk-limiting audit report required by subdivision (d).
(G) Establish procedures and requirements to ensure the audit process is observable by the public. and verifiable by the public, including disclosing the methods used to select samples and to calculate the risk, providing public opportunity to verify that the correct ballots were inspected during the audit, and providing public opportunity to observe the inspection of the voters’ marks on the ballots during the audit.
(c) The risk-limiting audit shall be a public and observable process, with the elections official providing at least a five-day public notice of the time and place of both the risk-limiting audit and the selection of the ballots to be used when conducting the risk-limiting audit.
(d) The elections official conducting the risk-limiting audit shall publish a report on the results of the risk-limiting audit in the certification of the official canvass of the vote.

SEC. 3.

 Section 15560 of the Elections Code is repealed.
15560.

(a)The Secretary of State is authorized to establish a postcanvass risk-limiting audit pilot program in five or more counties to improve the accuracy of, and public confidence in, election results. The Secretary of State is encouraged to include urban and rural counties; counties from northern, central, and southern California; and counties with various different voting systems.

(b)The pilot program described in subdivision (a) shall be conducted as follows:

(1)During the year 2011, each county that chooses to participate in the pilot program shall conduct a postcanvass risk-limiting audit of one or more contests after each election in that county.

(2)An elections official conducting an audit pursuant to this section shall do all of the following:

(A)Provide at least a five-day public notice of the time and place of the random selection of the audit units to be manually tallied and of the time and place of the audit.

(B)Make available to the public a report of the vote tabulating device results for the contest, including the results for each audit unit in the contest, prior to the random selection of audit units to be manually tallied and prior to the commencement of the audit.

(C)Conduct the audit upon tabulation of the unofficial final results or upon completion of the official canvass for the election.

(D)Conduct the audit in public view by hand without the use of electronic scanning equipment using the tally procedures established by Section 15360 for conducting a manual tally.

(3)On or before March 1, 2012, the Secretary of State shall report to the Legislature on the effectiveness and efficiency of postcanvass risk-limiting audits conducted pursuant to this section. The report shall include an analysis of the efficiency of postcanvass risk-limiting audits, including the costs of performing the audits, as compared to the 1-percent manual tallies conducted in the same election pursuant to Section 15360.

(c)An audit shall not be conducted pursuant to this section with respect to a state or multijurisdictional contest unless all of the counties involved in the contest choose to participate in the pilot program authorized by this section.

(d)For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1)“Audit unit” means a precinct, a set of ballots, or a single ballot. A precinct, a set of ballots, or a single ballot may be used as an audit unit for purposes of this section only if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(A)The relevant vote tabulating device is able to produce a report of the votes cast in the precinct, set of ballots, or single ballot.

(B)The elections official is able to match the report described in subparagraph (A) with the ballots corresponding to the report for purposes of conducting an audit pursuant to this section.

(C)Each ballot is assigned to not more than one audit unit.

(2)“Contest” means an election for an office or for a measure. “Contest” shall not include either of the following:

(A)An election for a political party central committee, as provided in Division 7 (commencing with Section 7000).

(B)An advisory election, as provided in Section 9603.

(3)“Risk-limiting audit” means a manual tally employing a statistical method that ensures a large, predetermined minimum chance of requiring a full manual tally whenever a full manual tally would show an electoral outcome that differs from the outcome reported by the vote tabulating device for the audited contest. A risk-limiting audit shall begin with a hand tally of the votes in one or more audit units and shall continue to hand tally votes in additional audit units until there is strong statistical evidence that the electoral outcome is correct. In the event that counting additional audit units does not provide strong statistical evidence that the electoral outcome is correct, the audit shall continue until there has been a full manual tally to determine the correct electoral outcome of the audited contest.

(4)“Unofficial final results” means election results tabulated pursuant to an official canvass conducted pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 15300) but not yet reported to the governing board or the Secretary of State pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 15302.

SEC. 3.

If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.