Public concerns about election security spiked following revelations about foreign interference with the 2016 presidential election. One way to confirm whether votes are recorded and tallied accurately — and, in turn, help restore public confidence in elections — is to perform a post-election audit.
In a risk-limiting audit, considered the gold standard of post-election audits, election officials hand count a sample of paper ballots to provide strong evidence that the reported election-night result was correct. These audits, which can only be carried out when there’s a voter-verifiable paper record of each vote, are typically conducted publicly and can provide voters with confidence that a counting error or malicious attack did not change the outcome.
The Brennan Center promotes post-election audits as a key component to securing elections against foreign interference and advocates for voting methods that produce a paper backup of each vote and mandatory risk-limiting audits.