Counties Urge Consensus on Risk-Limiting Election Audits

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally today testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in opposition of HB 759 Election Law – Postelection Tabulation Audits – Risk-Limiting Audits.

This bill requires the State Board of Elections, in collaboration with the local boards of elections, to conduct a risk-limiting audit of specified state and local contests following each statewide election.

Risk-limiting audits employ statistical methods to ensure that election results match voter selections reflected on paper ballots. MACo does not raise policy objections to employing risk-limiting audits to verify election results – county concerns are merely practical and cost-driven.

Namely, local boards of elections are concerned that this legislation may be premature, and have raised concerns about the administrative and fiscal implications of this legislation. MACo appreciates the willingness of the bill sponsor, Ways and Means Committee Chair Delegate Anne Kaiser, to work with relevant stakeholders to form a consensus on how to best implement the bill’s requirements.

From the MACo Testimony:

Counties are concerned this legislation places a substantial administrative and cost burden onto local boards of elections, whose operations are supported by county funding. Without state resources to offset these potentially large costs, the bill represents an unfunded mandate on local governments.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2021 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.