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

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Date Published: 03/15/2018 09:00 PM
AB2125:v98#DOCUMENT

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 amend Section 15360 of the Elections Code, relating to elections. An act to amend and repeal Section 15360, and to add Article 5.5 (commencing with Section 15365) to Chapter 4 of Division 15, of the Elections Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2125, as amended, Quirk. Election results: one-percent manual tally. 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.
This bill would authorize the use of ballot images, as defined, in the 1% manual tally. The bill would repeal the 1% manual tally requirements on March 5, 2024.
The bill would require risk-limiting audits in lieu of the 1% manual tally for certain counties beginning with the March 5, 2024 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 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 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.

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.

This bill would make a technical, nonsubstantive change to these provisions.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NOYES  

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 quality control for 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.

 Section 15360 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

15360.
 (a) During the official canvass of every election in which a voting system is used, the official conducting the election shall conduct a public manual tally of the ballots tabulated by those devices, including vote by mail ballots, using either of the following methods:
(1) (A) A public manual tally of the ballots canvassed in the semifinal official canvass, including vote by mail ballots but not including provisional ballots, cast in 1 percent of the precincts chosen at random by the elections official. If 1 percent of the precincts is less than one whole precinct, the tally shall be conducted in one precinct chosen at random by the elections official.
(B) (i) In addition to the 1 percent manual tally, the elections official shall, for each race not included in the initial group of precincts, count one additional precinct. The manual tally shall apply only to the race not previously counted.
(ii) The elections official may, at his or her discretion, select additional precincts for the manual tally, which may include vote by mail and provisional ballots.
(2) A two-part public manual tally, which includes both of the following:
(A) A public manual tally of the ballots canvassed in the semifinal official canvass, not including vote by mail or provisional ballots, cast in 1 percent of the precincts chosen at random by the elections official and conducted pursuant to paragraph (1).
(B) (i) A public manual tally of not less than 1 percent of the vote by mail ballots canvassed in the semifinal official canvass. Batches of vote by mail ballots shall be chosen at random by the elections official.
(ii) For purposes of this section, a “batch” means a set of ballots tabulated by the voting system devices, for which the voting system can produce a report of the votes cast.
(iii) (I) In addition to the 1 percent manual tally of the vote by mail ballots, the elections official shall, for each race not included in the initial 1 percent manual tally of vote by mail ballots, count one additional batch of vote by mail ballots. The manual tally shall apply only to the race not previously counted.
(II) The elections official may, at his or her discretion, select additional batches for the manual tally, which may include vote by mail and provisional ballots.
(b) If vote by mail ballots are cast on a direct recording electronic voting system at the office of an elections official or at a satellite location of the office of an elections official pursuant to Section 3018, the official conducting the election shall either include those ballots in the manual tally conducted pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (a), or conduct a public manual tally of those ballots cast on no fewer than 1 percent of all the direct recording electronic voting machines used in that election chosen at random by the elections official.
(c) The elections official shall use either a random number generator or other method specified in regulations that shall be adopted by the Secretary of State to randomly choose the initial precincts, batches of vote by mail ballots, or direct recording electronic voting machines subject to the public manual tally.
(d) The elections official shall not randomly choose the initial precincts or select an additional precinct for the manual tally until after the close of the polls on election day.
(e) The manual tally shall be a public process, with the official conducting the election providing at least a five-day public notice of the time and place of the manual tally and of the time and place of the selection of the precincts, batches, or direct recording electronic voting machines subject to the public manual tally before conducting the selection and tally.
(f) The official conducting the election shall include a report on the results of the 1 percent manual tally in the certification of the official canvass of the vote. This report shall identify any discrepancies between the machine count and the manual tally and a description of how each of these discrepancies was resolved. In resolving a discrepancy involving a vote recorded by means of a punchcard voting system or by electronic or electromechanical vote tabulating devices, the voter verified paper audit trail shall govern if there is a discrepancy between it and the electronic record.
(g) (1) Ballot images may be used in place of ballots for purposes of the manual tally required by this section.
(2) The elections official shall choose at random a percentage of precincts to compare ballot images to paper ballots. The percentage shall be prescribed and publicly noticed by the Secretary of State.
(3) As used in this section, “ballot image” means an electronic copy or digital representation of a voted ballot that is an image of the ballot scanned or created independent from the tally or ballot marking system and can be matched back to the original ballot.
(h) This section shall remain in effect until March 5, 2024.

SEC. 3.

 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.
 As used in this article, “risk-limiting audit” means a procedure 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 voting system for an audited contest.

15366.
 (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 5, 2024, and each election thereafter, if a voting system is used that was purchased using state funds, the elections official conducting the election shall conduct a risk-limiting audit in place of the one percent manual tally.
(3) An elections official conducting a risk-limiting audit shall conduct the audit on at least one countywide and at least one statewide contest, until all counties have transitioned to risk-limiting audits. For the purposes of this paragraph, “countywide” means an elective office wholly within the county that is voted on throughout the county.
(b) (1) The Secretary of State, in consultation with recognized statistical experts, equipment vendors, and local elections officials, shall adopt regulations to implement and administer this article.
(2) The regulations shall do all of the following:
(A) Establish threshold limits for risk-limiting audits.
(B) Require the creation of an audit board by the local elections official to govern risk-limiting audits.
(C) Establish criteria for public education on risk-limiting audits.
(D) Ensure the security of the ballots and documentation that those procedures were followed.
(E) Ensure the accuracy of ballot manifests produced by counties.
(F) Establish rules governing the format of ballot manifests, cast vote records, and other data involved in risk-limiting audits.
(G) Establish procedures for the random selection of ballots to be inspected manually during each audit.
(H) Establish the calculations and other methods to be used in the audit and to determine whether and when the audit of each contest is complete.
(I) Establish procedures and requirements for testing any software used to conduct risk-limiting audits under this article, and for disclosing the source code of that software.
(c) (1) Ballot images may be used in place of ballots for purposes of risk-limiting audits under this article.
(2) The elections official shall choose at random a percentage of precincts to compare ballot images to paper ballots. The percentage shall be prescribed and publicly noticed by the Secretary of State.
(3) As used in this section, “ballot image” means an electronic copy or digital representation of a voted ballot that is an image of the ballot scanned or created independent from the tally or ballot marking system and can be matched back to the original ballot.
(d) The risk-limiting audit shall be a public process, with the official conducting the election providing at least a five-day public notice of the time and place of the risk-limiting audit and of the time and place of the selection of the precincts, batches, or direct recording electronic voting machines subject to the public risk-limiting audit before conducting the selection and tally. As used in this subdivision, “direct recording electronic voting machine” means a system described in subdivision (d) of Section 301.
(e) The official conducting the election shall include a report on the results of the risk-limiting audit in the certification of the official canvass of the vote. This report shall identify any discrepancies between the machine count and the risk-limiting audit and a description of how each of these discrepancies was resolved. In resolving a discrepancy involving a vote recorded by electronic or electromechanical vote tabulating devices, the voter verified paper audit trail shall govern if there is a discrepancy between it and the electronic record.

SEC. 4.

  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.
SECTION 1.Section 15360 of the Elections Code is amended to read:
15360.

(a)During the official canvass of each election in which a voting system is used, the official conducting the election shall conduct a public manual tally of the ballots tabulated by those devices, including vote by mail ballots, using either of the following methods:

(1)(A)A public manual tally of the ballots canvassed in the semifinal official canvass, including vote by mail ballots but not including provisional ballots, cast in 1 percent of the precincts chosen at random by the elections official. If 1 percent of the precincts is less than one whole precinct, the tally shall be conducted in one precinct chosen at random by the elections official.

(B)(i)In addition to the 1 percent manual tally, the elections official shall, for each race not included in the initial group of precincts, count one additional precinct. The manual tally shall apply only to the race not previously counted.

(ii)The elections official may, at his or her discretion, select additional precincts for the manual tally, which may include vote by mail and provisional ballots.

(2)A two-part public manual tally, which includes both of the following:

(A)A public manual tally of the ballots canvassed in the semifinal official canvass, not including vote by mail or provisional ballots, cast in 1 percent of the precincts chosen at random by the elections official and conducted pursuant to paragraph (1).

(B)(i)A public manual tally of not less than 1 percent of the vote by mail ballots canvassed in the semifinal official canvass. Batches of vote by mail ballots shall be chosen at random by the elections official.

(ii)For purposes of this section, a “batch” means a set of ballots tabulated by the voting system devices, for which the voting system can produce a report of the votes cast.

(iii)(I)In addition to the 1 percent manual tally of the vote by mail ballots, the elections official shall, for each race not included in the initial 1 percent manual tally of vote by mail ballots, count one additional batch of vote by mail ballots. The manual tally shall apply only to the race not previously counted.

(II)The elections official may, at his or her discretion, select additional batches for the manual tally, which may include vote by mail and provisional ballots.

(b)If vote by mail ballots are cast on a direct recording electronic voting system at the office of an elections official or at a satellite location of the office of an elections official pursuant to Section 3018, the official conducting the election shall either include those ballots in the manual tally conducted pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (a), or conduct a public manual tally of those ballots cast on no fewer than 1 percent of all the direct recording electronic voting machines used in that election chosen at random by the elections official.

(c)The elections official shall use either a random number generator or other method specified in regulations that shall be adopted by the Secretary of State to randomly choose the initial precincts, batches of vote by mail ballots, or direct recording electronic voting machines subject to the public manual tally.

(d)The elections official shall not randomly choose the initial precincts or select an additional precinct for the manual tally until after the close of the polls on election day.

(e)The manual tally shall be a public process, with the official conducting the election providing at least a five-day public notice of the time and place of the manual tally and of the time and place of the selection of the precincts, batches, or direct recording electronic voting machines subject to the public manual tally before conducting the selection and tally.

(f)The official conducting the election shall include a report on the results of the 1 percent manual tally in the certification of the official canvass of the vote. This report shall identify any discrepancies between the machine count and the manual tally and a description of how each of these discrepancies was resolved. In resolving a discrepancy involving a vote recorded by means of a punchcard voting system or by electronic or electromechanical vote tabulating devices, the voter verified paper audit trail shall govern if there is a discrepancy between it and the electronic record.