Explainer: What are all election audits?

President Donald Trump and his Republican allies are a routine and common process after the election, when they are trying to overturn the outcome of the November 3 presidential election, or at least cast doubt. Focused on auditing.

So far, the surge in legal opposition to the Trump campaign has not unearthed widespread evidence of fraudulent voting, and election experts, as well as state and federal authorities, say nothing.

Still, Trump and the Republicans are calling for audits in states where the president has been defeated, even if they reject the results of audits that have already been completed.

What is a post-election audit?

Most states have laws that require post-election audits, regardless of the margin of victory. It’s not because they think something is wrong. They just want to make sure the voting device is working properly and the election process is being followed.

Employees typically participate in paper ballots and match the results of electronic ballots. This is to make sure there is no potential for errors or fraud.

If there is a discrepancy, state law will trigger a more thorough accounting of the vote, but how it is done depends on the state.

Post-election audits are different from recounting when the number of votes that separate candidates is small or when requested by a candidate.

Where are Republicans seeking audits?

It’s happening in several states at once.

In Arizona, where President Joe Biden won, the state’s Republicans demanded a new ballot sample of Maricopa County, where most of the state’s population lives, including Phoenix. Why was it quoted? Republican lawyers say they want to see if a voting machine has been hacked in Arizona, even though there is no evidence of voting machine fraud or hacking.

The request was made after the county had already completed its own audit, counted the number of votes cast, and found no issues. On Thursday, the judge rejected the Republican bid to postpone proof of the county’s election results and dismissed the party’s legal challenge for a new audit.

Maricopa County officials proved their results on Friday. Biden won the county with more than 45,000 votes and defeated Trump across the state by more than 10,000 votes.

Next is the state of Georgia, where electoral authorities conducted a high-profile audit of the presidential election, as required by state law. The audit (manual aggregation of about 5 million votes) did not address the suspicious issue. A new law in Georgia requires one racial audit for each election. Republican Secretary of State Brad Rafens said he chose to audit the presidential election because of the importance of the presidential election and the narrow margins between Trump and Biden.

Thousands of previously uncounted votes were discovered during the audit, narrowing Biden’s lead to Trump. Biden is still taking the state.

What happened in Michigan?

Things have evolved a little differently in Michigan.

It began when Black Detroit, two Republican election committee members in the district, including the majority, voted to block regular certification of votes. They cited a discrepancy between the number of votes given to voters (either by mail or direct voting) and the number of votes cast.

According to informal results, it was a surprising and unexpected move, especially as Biden defeated Trump in Wayne County by more than 2: 1. Biden won 154,000 votes, or 2.8 percentage points, in Michigan.

Republican claims have elicited racist complaints from Democrats and election experts who also mentioned that there were no signs of widespread voting fraud in Michigan and elsewhere. The two Republican board members were later reversed, with the guarantee that an audit would take place. Democratic Secretary Joslyn Benson said there were “serious errors” in Wayne County and other communities.

Since then, Wayne County’s Republican Commission has signed an affidavit that it does not yet believe that results should be proven. State officials say the vote cannot be revoked.

It’s not just about the presidential election

In Alaska, Republican vice-governor Kevin Mayer said he would seek an audit of the votes cast to abolish state-wide primaries. That’s after Trump and some of his supporters questioned the technology used to count votes-again, there is no evidence of serious irregularity.

Dominion Voting Systems, one of the country’s largest voting technology providers, has denied what the system calls “false claims about voting switching and software issues.”

In this case, it is not the Trump campaign that seeks an audit. Rather, Meyer said the machine proved to be accurate during the primary, but “many people think the Dominion machine is broken, damaged and easy to operate. I’m asking for an audit. Level. “

The audit is done after the results have been certified and the results do not change.

What happened now?

During the 2020 elections, there were no widespread discoveries of fraud in any state. At best, electoral authorities cite routine cases of human error and minor technical problems.

Trump’s own election safety agency has declared that the 2020 presidential election is the safest in history. (A few days after the statement was released, Trump fired the leader of the institution.)

At this time, audits in any state are unlikely to reveal major issues that could affect election outcomes.


The Associated Press coverage of voting rights is partially supported by the Carnegie Foundation in New York. The Associated Press is solely responsible for this content.

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Explainer: What are all election audits?

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